Foreign professionals may legally work in Taiwan if they possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university and at least two years of work experience. Master’s degree holders are exempt from the work experience requirement, regardless of the industry in which employment is sought. Foreign nationals serving as company directors or supervisors that visit Taiwan to attend board or shareholders meetings only require a visitors’ visa, not a full work permit.
In most cases, the capital requirement for a company wishing to hire a foreign employee is NTD 5 million (approximately USD 152,000) for the first year. For companies established more than one year, the average annual revenue required for a period of time for up to three years is NTD 10 million (approximately USD 304,000). While there is no written requirement, companies are required, in practice, to maintain an annual revenue of NTD 5 million for foreign-invested companies or NTD 10 million for local companies for each foreign professional they employ. Additionally, a foreign white-collar employee must be given a minimum monthly salary of NTD 47,971 (approximately USD 1,500).
After a foreign professional is granted a work permit, they may then apply for a resident visa at a Taiwan embassy or trade office. After arriving in Taiwan, they should then apply for an Alien Residence Certificate (ARC) from the National Immigration Agency. The foreign professional’s accompanying spouse and children are also eligible for an ARC that allows them to live in Taiwan.
The spouse’s ARC, however, is not a work permit and does not automatically entitle that person to work in Taiwan. The spouse must also meet the requirements of and apply for their own work permit if they take up a job offer in Taiwan. Foreign professionals and their spouses should also be aware that volunteering is considered “work” in the eyes of Taiwan’s authorities. The penalties faced by employers (and human resource managers) for hiring unauthorized foreign workers can be quite severe, including both fines and jail sentences.
English teachers are not considered business executives and are subject to a different set of work permit rules and regulations. Chinese professionals who need to visit Taiwan for business purposes are also subject to a separate set of rules and regulations.