March 19, 2012

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How to get a job in Taiwan

Part of my working in Taiwan series

Picture is completely not related to the post.

It's now been over a year since I've moved to Taiwan and one of the things that happened very fast around that time was my first job. A month after arriving here, I was invited to an interview at an IT company and soon after I have started to work. I was lucky though - it's not so easy to get a real job, I mean a job other than English teaching. And most Europeans, who don't hold a British or Irish passport, can't legally work for an English language school. So if you're French, German, Russian, Polish, Slovenian or of any other non-Anglo-Saxon origin and want to work in Taiwan, this post is intended for you, as I am about to explain how I landed my first job here, and further elaborate in future posts how it is to work for a Taiwanese IT company and eventually how to change job, something I've successfully accomplished, too.

No tips on English teaching

First of all let me tell you, that you won't find any tips on teaching English in Taiwan here - Even though I'm regularly receiving emails from people asking me about it, I have no idea how that "industry" works. For information related to that you better browse through the numerous topics on Forumosa or read a dedicated blog like this one. I can only give you one general tip: If there is one thing Taiwan doesn't need now is more English teachers. From what I hear the wages are dropping every year due too more supply than demand - so unless you're a serious, certified and highly-educated English language expert aspiring a career job at one of the top universities, don't come here and waste your youth in a cram school. And if you must do so, rather hop over to China, you will have more opportunities, the market is much larger - it's the place to be for young adventure-thirsty North Americans.

You need visa and time

Like most EU citizens, you will probably be allowed to stay in Taiwan for 90 days. If you haven't yet secured a job before your arrival, you won't have a lot of time. Of course you can fly out to Hong Kong after 89 days and come back to Taiwan few days later and get another 90 days to stay, but I would generally discourage this behavior, as you never know, if it will really work out well for you. Three months might be tight, but could be enough for you to go through the necessary stages before starting to work, which are: Sending applications, going to interviews, making a medical check and waiting for the working permit to be processed by the officials. In my case, I didn't really have a problem with time, as I held the Alien Resident Certificate (further ARC) based on my marriage and I knew I won't be chased out after three months. Of course, if you're already holding an ARC, you have a better chance to land a job, as your employer doesn't need to apply working visa for you. He only needs to register you, but he saves time and money and he will be sure, that you won't run back to your country, when things get tough. And they will get tough for sure.

Screencap taken from here.

The regulation for foreign workers

There are two main groups of foreign workers in Taiwan, most Europeans might belong to either one or the other. Here is a short overview with related links:

1. Foreign spouses: I belong to this group, because I am married to a Taiwanese girl. I am not required to apply for a permit to work in Taiwan and the types of work are not restricted. When it comes to salary and packages, I am treated same as other Taiwanese, but still get a little bit more pay than the average Taiwanese would get with the same qualification (that's just what my wife told me). You could call it a foreigner bonus.

2. Foreign professionals: Foreigners, who fall into this group, need to get a work permit from the employer. Their salary should not be below 48.000 NTD per month. People in this group are limited to following professions: A. Specialists or technicians (which includes 1. Civil engineering or practice of architecture; 2. Communications and transportation; 3. Tax and financial services; 4. Practice of real estate agency; 5. Immigration services; 6. Practice of attorneys, or of patent attorneys; 7. Practice of technicians; 8. Health care; 9. Environmental protection; 10. Culture, sports, and recreation services; 11. Academic research; 12. Practice of veterinarians; 13. Manufacturing; 14. Wholesales; or 15. Other work - detailed information here), B. Executives of enterprises set up by overseas Chinese and foreign investors, C. School teachers, D. Teachers at supplementary language schools, E. Sports coach or athlete, F. Art, or entertainment arts workers, G. Crew members of merchant ships or working ships. Information taken from here and here.

Starting from zero

Best way to start looking for a job is to have someone local helping you. In my case it was my wife - she was kind enough to translate my resume from English to Chinese and published it on 104.com.tw, the oldest and most popular employment website in Taiwan. There are other websites as well, such as www.123.com.tw and www.1111.com.tw, but they don't enjoy a reputation as high as 104.com.tw. Most Taiwanese companies simultaneously publish job offers on their websites, if you know the industry you want to work in, you can pick individual companies and send your resume to them directly. On the employment websites however it's common, that a company's HR sends you an email or calls you to invite you for an interview (that's what happened to me). Nevertheless, don't expect an invitation right the next day after you've created your profile on 104.com.tw, it might need few weeks, before you get an offer from a serious company. You might get a lot of offers from some small companies related to insurance or LED technology - I generally disregard these offers, as these businesses won't bring you far in Taiwan. Be selective, research the company's websites and ask a local Taiwanese to browse through the forums - there are some, that discuss companies and share experiences regarding how it is working in them.

The interview

The interview is probably the most important step on the way to employment, as Taiwanese companies don't only value your educational background and experience, they will judge your character and give you a set of standard questions, such as: What have you achieved so far? Where do you see yourself in the future? Name 5 of your strengths and 5 of your weaknesses. Can you speak Chinese? How did you come to Taiwan? It's very likely, that you'll first be asked to solve an IQ or personality test, but based on my understanding, these tests are rarely checked and mostly don't matter - nevertheless, if you get one, finish it seriously and take them as if they are very important. What matters is a key competence such as your previous job, university degree, language skills, product knowledge, understanding of the market and of course your expected salary. If you come to an interview, no matter how run down the company headquarters look like, wear a suit, smile and be polite. That also includes taking the interviewers business card with two hands, briefly studying it and then placing it in front of you on the table during the whole interview. Treat a person's business card as his face, because that's what it is in a sense. Women generally don't shake hands, while men shake them firmly. Speaking Chinese is a plus, but not a must to get a job - at least say that you are learning. If you get a tour around the company, you most likely have got the offer already, however, they will still make you wait for few days before they tell you. You might also get an invitation for a second interview with a person of higher rank such as vice president or CEO - this also indicates, that your chances are looking good. He will speak about the company background and general strategy and if you want the job, you better agree with what he says.

The salary

Currently for a foreigner, who wants to be junior sales in an IT company, which is growing and expanding, you can get between 40.000 to 50.000 NTD (something like 1000-1200 Eur). If the company is stingy, you might get an offer lower than 40.000, if they are generous, you might get over 50.000. Keep in mind, that a Taiwanese junior sales will only get 30.000 something. Lucky for you and unfortunately for your Taiwanese colleagues, you can get a better pay than them with less experience - it's not fair, but that's how it is. If you have experience for the position you aim, you can demand 50.000, 60.000 or even more, but depends on the rank and the responsibility you'll have. Best is to research the web and ask some friends about how much a certain position should be paid - the differences can be very big. At almost every interview they will ask you how much pay you expect, if not on the first one, then on the second. General rule is to demand few thousand more than you expect and then go down. For example, if you expect 45.000 NTD, say 48.000, because the HR will most likely send you an offer letter with a couple of thousand NTD below your expected salary. That's part of their job, to save the company's cost (part of their KPI). Of course it's also possible that it doesn't happen, but in my cases it did. Also be sure to ask, how many salaries per year do you get. 13 is very common for a junior (only includes Chinese new year bonus), 14 is might be more common, if you're experienced and the company is good, while some of the best companies might offer you a package of 16 or even over 20 salaries per year (so I heard). There might also be incentives related to your performance, the so called quarterly bonuses - HRs love to mention them, but in some companies these bonuses are very meager. Nevertheless, it's better if they have them than not. Once you work in Taiwan's IT a little longer, you will care more about how much you earn per year, not per month and all these extras will influence your decision.

Why IT?

Taiwan is home to one of the biggest manufacturers of IT products in the world, especially huge in semiconductor field. In the past, the focus was strong on ODM/OEM business and most of the companies are still satisfied with this role (most prominent example is Apple's supplier Foxconn), but a lot of Taiwanese IT companies have established themselves as worldwide known brands in the past decade, among them Acer, ASUS, AVerMedia, Gigabyte (all computer and peripheral equipment), A-Data (storage, RAM, memory cards), AG Neovo, BenQ (LCD monitors), D-Link, ZyXel (communications and internet) and recently coming to fame - HTC Corporation (communications, internet, cellphones). There are literally thousands of small and medium-sized IT companies popping up every year in Taiwan, trying to be the next Asus or HTC, usually in three key parts of Taiwan: Taipei, Taoyuan and Hsinchu. You don't need to join one of the big ones to have a good career in Taiwan's IT, nevertheless, they are a safer choice, as they tend to be more organized. The industry is fast-paced, constantly changing and very challenging. But if you work in Taiwan's IT, you can say that you were right there in the front seat, when mankind migrated to the digital society of tomorrow. A lot of things are developed in Taiwan way before they land on the shelves of Western consumer electronics chain stores, usually under different brands. And that's what was so interesting to me to join an IT company in the first place, despite having no IT experience at all.

In conclusion

This is just a general overview of how it might happen to you based on how it happened to me. I can't go too deep, as I don't want to share too much details from my personal life, but I still hope that it's enough to give you a little insight on the procedure. Maybe you got a job in IT as well and your story is completely different. If so, please share your experience in the comments below, so that others can use it as a reference.

Next post in the series: Working in a Taiwanese IT company>>

64 comments:

  1. It's refreshing to read this kind of article about working in Taiwan that's not about teaching English.

    Knowing how Taiwanese are scared to speak english, did you have your interview in Chinese?

    For the salary, I read somewhere that if you're a foreigner married to a taiwanese, the pay will be lower than if you're not, so taiwanese companies will have a preference for the former. Usually, there's room to negotiate salaries, is that also the case in Taiwan?

    Always a pleasure to read your blog!

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  2. @chun li: for the interesting comment. I had all my interviews in English, the companies I was interested all do business with overseas customers. Not sure, if it's true what you say about foreigners married to Taiwanese women, I haven't heard about it, but I will ask. Maybe it's true in some cases. There is room to negotiate salaries, if you hit a certain number, which is acceptable for the company. If you're way above, the case will be closed and they will say you are too expensive for them.

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  3. "foreigners married to Taiwanese women", and conversely "foreigners married to Taiwanese men" eh ;) that's I why I simply wrote "foreigner married to a taiwanese" :p

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  4. This is really valuable information for all of us considering moving to Taiwan to be with or our loved one... please continue publishing work related info and congrats on your blog...

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  5. Interesting post, and good to read about getting other kinds of jobs, but a few things worth noting:

    Yes, I agree that cram school wages are stagnating and it's really not worth it to teach in a cram school, but let me say this: I work in corporate training (which means some English teaching mixed in with business skills: presentations, technical writing, social etiquette) and I would laugh - - laugh! -- at NT$30-$50,000 a month. I average more like $90,000. I won't get out of bed for $40k. If you're certified and good at what you do, you can make a lot of money in a specialized teaching field and not in a buxiban. There are good opportunities for this that aren't in universities (I've turned down some potential university teaching offers, because the salary was too low).

    I would agree that teaching in a cram school isn't a much of a real job, but I'd say that what I do is, and I'm well-compensated for it.

    Second - since I do ply my trade in businesses, and teach in a lot of offices, I see the terrible hours these guys work, especially in IT. You might be fine with those hours, but a lot of Europeans and even North Americans would balk at 10, 12, even 14 hour days, often working Saturdays and generally being expected to put in extra hours for "important" projects: which by the boss's definition are all projects you're ever given. It really should be noted in this post that if you get an "office job", those are the hours you'll be working...for that paltry $40,000.

    Finally: personal opinion - China sucks. You actually won't really make any more in China than you will in Taiwan: you'll make about the same on the coasts and less inland, adjusted for local markets. China's got a lot going on but it's also got a lot of disadvantages. I tried China and found it dirty (got pneumonia twice in one year), unfriendly (people were friendly to me, but few people were interested in an actual foreign friend beyond "status symbol"- I lived far inland, not in a major city) and rife with intolerable sexism, even towards foreign women. I wouldn't say that China is a good alternative to Taiwan, although some people do prefer it (good for them).

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  6. Also something to note - even though I actually don't disagree that much - it's good to be careful when throwing around insults like "a real job, ie not English teaching" (which, as much as it may be warranted, *is* an insult).

    I have zero respect for the cram school system and the only friend I have who works in it is my sister, who isn't planning to stay. She just likes Taiwan as she studied abroad here, hated China, and decided to come and hang out a little longer until the American job market improves.

    But...a case could also be made that those endless cube farm jobs, staffed by cube monkeys, who sit behind computers all day doing things that do nothing whatsoever to advance the human race or make the world a better place, who tap keys and push papers around under filtered-air-vents and beige carpeted walls a la "Office Space" - - that those aren't "real jobs" either. I used to have one, in finance. It was killing my soul. What I do now is a "real job" - well-paid, does some good (I do see more fluency, a wider vocabulary, less fear around foreigners and better e-mails, reports and presentations after my classes), I'm good at it and I enjoy it.

    What I did when I worked in finance?

    Totally a joke.

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  7. Interesting article and comments, makes me want to ask a bunch of questions!

    I have heard about the bad hours and low salary in IT industry in Taiwan that Jenna mentioned (at least compared to Europe -- although no idea about Slovenia), so how is it for you?

    And do you think there are many foreigners in Taiwan who get accepted to their position without being fit for it (or even without any experience whatsoever as you said)?

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  8. It's not just the IT industry - gaming, banking with very few exceptions, hardware (semiconductor tech etc), accounting, teaching anything but English, manufacturing: I can't even think of one industry in Taiwan that currently offers competitive salaries, even compared to cram school teaching (my cram school teacher sister makes about $45,000-$50,000 a month) and definitely when compared to salaries in most Western countries. If such low salaries meant less work, then great, but generally you have to work longer hours and wait longer for raises (which, from a cultural standpoint, you're not technically supposed to ask for, but that's changing).

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  9. @Jenna: Hi Jenna, thanks for your long comments. First of all, my 'real job' remark was supposed to be a sarcastic poke, not insult. I do that often on my blog, because I like to trigger reactions like yours. I knew that the remark might make some teachers raise eyebrows, but then again, we're all grown-ups, right? I don't believe I should be more careful than I already am and this blog is about challenging readers, not insults. Funny to see someone, who completely trashed a huge group of working people (even named them "cube monkeys"), telling me I should be careful :) Imagine I'd write something of similar vitriol about English teachers, I would get a hell of a heat from them (double standard?). Despite your explicit language, I do agree with the points you made. There are lots of jobs in Taiwan's IT, where people do exactly what you described, but that's just one flip of the coin. I will elaborate more on that in my future post.
    Let me congratulate you on your (for Taiwan) high salary. You probably have a high degree, lots of experience and good skill to earn that money here and I'm sure you didn't get this kind of money right after you set foot on Taiwan. If you read carefully, I'm only talking about how to get the first job in Taiwan (and use the example IT industry). I have another post scheduled for the near future, that will discuss how to move on to a better job, how to get a raise, a better package and so on, so I won't go too deep into your points here.
    Another mistake you make is to see things through your American eyes. Once again, I specifically targeted Europeans of non-Anglo-Saxon descent, who legally can't be English teachers. Half of those are from the so called former Eastern Block (including me) and for us a starting salary between 40.000 and 50.000 NTD is a good salary! In comparison with my home country Slovenia, Taiwan's living standard is very similar. The key difference is that at least in Taipei the economy is booming, while in Slovenia it's getting worse by the year. It was already tough before 2008, but in recent years it's even tougher, especially for young people. What I like about Taiwan's IT industry is that they do offer people like me with no IT background a chance to get a decent job with a decent pay. Of course 5k is not what I wanna have all the time, but it's a good start for me and I'm sure for many East Europeans. I know that for Germans, Swiss or North Europeans this is a very small salary, same is probably true for Americans. Even your 90.000 is for a Western European a very average salary (clerks in stores earn that money in Zurich), but of course in Taiwan you can get by very well with 90k. I'm just asking you to differentiate, as many of us have a different background. The same differentiation is needed for English teachers and my post was not supposed to be about them, as you can see, I have just mentioned them briefly. I also regret your attitude towards those who earn below 40k, I'm sure few of my blog's readers are among them. Lots of Taiwanese have no choice but to accept a job that pays below 30k and they work nonstop - it's sad, it's unfair, but what can you do, if there is no choice? I suppose a little more tactfulness from your side, who does much well, would be appropriate. Other than that, thanks for your insights, I agree with most what you said.

    @Hans: I think I've answered it in the reply to Jenna. Please also wait for a post in near future, where I go deeper into these things.

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  10. Hey!

    Not sure if it's mentioned in the comments but, when you talk about your own experience, don't forget to mention that you are married and then already have an ARC which is a HUGE plus as the company can hire you as easily as if they were hiring a local. Otherwise, hiring a foreigner can be a real burden (lawyers, work visa...etc) for them.

    I'm not sure about the people like you who have a spouse visa (I heard that they have the same treatments as locals. i.e lower salaries) but a white collar foreigner in Taiwan CANNOT be paid under 49800$, if it's the case, it's simply illegal.

    My opinion is that the IT industry in Taiwan is to be avoided at all cost, mainly because if the low wages and (very) long working hours. You have some other (less sexy) position in heavy industries that are much more interesting (with commissions...etc) financially speaking.

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  11. @Tortue: I mentioned, that I had it easier with ARC, but I will rewrite that part to make it more explicit. As for the white collar salary you mentioned, as far as I know sales positions are not included, it's only a must for certain professional occupations. I will add that in the post above as well.

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  12. Study Chinese for 18-24 months (about the same time as a worthless MBA or law degree in my view) to the point of being able to read a local chinese newspaper and financial reports, etc.
    My early job interviews in my career were easy: "please translate this front-page article". Got offers the same day.
    Few foreigners (I do not include overseas Chinese here) can read Chinese fluently.
    Once you can, you will never ever worry about not finding a job in Taiwan or Greater China (HK, China, etc.), because you will be a hot commodity.
    This is from personal experience over nearly 20 years.

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  13. I don't know anyone who studied Chinese for 18-24 months and could then read a newspaper or financial reports in Chinese. I seriously know not one person who could do that, and I know a lot of extremely intelligent and talented people. I can't do that - I can sort of read a newspaper, but most of my Chinese ability is colloquial, I never studied the formal Chinese used to write most newspaper stories and reports - and I've been at it for longer than that and am otherwise literate. I'm no genius, though, which is why I mention friends of mine who (in my eyes) are far smarter than I am and who did study more formally, who still couldn't read a paper after 24 months. There's an excellent essay out there on the difficulties of learning Chinese if you don't believe me - and it's really true in my experience.

    @MKL - fair enough! Although it's worth noting that if you look "white", legal or not some cram school will probably hire you. They'll pay you crap, though, and we can both agree that the industry is a scary and sad place.

    I do have certification, a lot of experience and I daresay a natural talent for teaching (I am far better at it than I ever was at my office job) - my point about my salary is that it's not true that the only good teaching jobs in Taiwan are at "top universities". No, I didn't make that much when I arrived, but I was also not certified then, and my lower wages only lasted a year (I know a lot of cram school teachers who never do any better, though).

    Otherwise, hey, I mostly agree.

    My "cube monkey" comment, if you read again, started with "a case could be made that..." - note that I did not attribute that particular case or phrasing to myself, I'm just saying you could make the case. Most of my students are, ahem, "cube monkeys" as are my Taiwanese friends, and I would not want to insult them.

    It's a term I would use to describe my own job or self-deprecate, but not lob at another person because, well, one person's cube monkey job is another's dream job. One person's crap teaching job is another's dream industry (cram schools aside). I will use it to describe my paper-pusher finance job, but I won't use it against another. I will, however, laugh if someone uses it to describe themselves.

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  14. I studied at National Taiwan Normal University's Mandarin Training Center in Taipei. By the 18th month (from starting at zero language ability), I was at the reading Chinese newspaper level of classes with a group of 3 other students. We all studied together up through the levels. I left MTC after about 2 and half years (or 30 months) and got to that level of being able to read any chinese newspaper and read chinese financial reports and beyond.

    Classes there were 2 hours per day, 5 days a week. No more than 5 students per teacher (I believe there are now up to 10 students per teacher now).

    Jenna, you yourself admitted you never studied the formal way to read a chinese newspaper. There are textbooks out there on it that MTC uses. It is much different - reading a chinese newspapers - as generally one character takes the place of the normal two characters used for a typical word (that relates to a word in english).

    I do not know what to say about your friends, whether they studied full-time or were at a formal school for 24 months. What they got out of learning chinese was far far far less than I and my classmates did (two Asians, one European, one North American). We were together nearly all that time and got to that level and beyond. I would hazard a guess there are more students like us who once studied at MTC and who also probably got to that level and beyond. If your friends studied at MTC as well and couldn't read a chinese newspaper after 24 months, then they must have been really messing around and not properly studying.

    They can make up all the excuses they want, but I and my classmates are a good example of being able to do it.

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  15. Anonymous - one of these friends is studying to be a Chinese teacher (quite fluent, can read newspapers now), so I'd say he learned rather quickly.

    I studied at MTC too - but only two semesters. I thought the methodology was such crap and the textbooks taught words so hopelessly formal and Mainland-oriented that I decided not to stick around.

    For the record, my two semesters were not at the beginning. I placed into book 3 and finished book 4 before quitting, and am currently self-studying book 5 (I am doing a better job on my own than$21,000 for a teacher who wasn't very good could do).

    I do not believe that, had I stayed, I would be able to read a Chinese newspaper any better than I can now. I would be abe to read faster, sure (the curriculum is far more writing/reading intensive than speaking) but not necessarily better.

    In short, I got very little out of MTC. I don't have good things to stay about their program.

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  16. Hi,
    I'm from Belgium and I have the same problem, I dream about coming back to Taiwan everyday to work there but it's so difficult it drives me crazy!
    I've studied Mandarin in kaohsiung for 1 year in 2010 and also worked as a teacher at a joy school, of course because I'm a non native speaker they couldn't give me a workpermit and arc. I did enjoy teaching there though!
    Since I got back to Belgium I started to think of ways to go back there, but what can I do?
    I already work for DHL for 6 years, they have a job site where I can find DHL jobs in Taiwan, I've already applied online for 13 jobs but I didn't even receive 1 reply.
    I'm not sure if I can go to Taiwan and apply for any other job besides DHL because there are no other specific skills I have except the work i've been doing for the last 6 years. Are there companies that would hire me? I would almost work anywhere just to go back to taiwan.
    I do have 1 option that could work, it's also something I love to do because I'm born in the catering business.I could open a bar/restaurant in kaohsiung. Business plan is almost ready and I've had contact with several accountants so I know most of the things I need to know but they make it sooo difficult. I could get workpermit and arc through the company...but my girlfriend can't, it's so frustrating!
    So besides the bar plan, does anyone think I have a chance on finding a job in Taiwan when i realy have no specific skills?

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  17. This is a great post with info on non-teaching jobs in Taiwan (I run a site that this article links to, so many thanks for that). However, recent law changes have lowered the minimum wage that foreign white collar workers must be paid. I believe the new amount is somewhere in the 3x,xxx bracket, which is good news if you want to work in Taiwan and do something that is unrelated to teaching. I've my own opinions on why anyone would want to move here and work for 30k a month (I personally think you'd be crazy to do this, but I guess it also depends on which country you are from), but, again, this is a great post that sheds some light on what it's like in Taiwan and I can see from the comments that it has definitely been helpful.

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  18. @Chris: Easy way: Marry your gf, get ARC and it will be a piece of cake to find a job... in Taipei that is. Harder way: Keep applying for jobs in connection with shipping, since your experience is DHL and you even speak Chinese, it would be a big plus. But I'm not sure, your salary would be big. You can try be sales, but that's very challenging. Anyway, best of luck!

    @David: Hi David. I will check about the minimum wage and update the post. How come you're writing your blog solely on teaching English? I know some people here, who are very happy to leave teaching English for a job in IT, because they fear if they return to the US or Canada, their resume will not look very good. And teaching English in Taiwan is more like babysitting/entertaining than really teaching (well, there are few serious schools). Do you agree with this notion? At least it's true for those who teach in buxibans. Or what's your take on this?

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  19. Hi, nice post. do you know what is the tax one have to pay while working on a marriage based ARC?
    thanks

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  20. @Andres: I'm not sure, because it can differ based on various factors, such as if you own or rent a house, if you support parents etc. All these things can be used to lower your tax. Better you ask your wife to check the latest tax regulations on the government website.

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  21. Nicely explained, I am currently working in a Software Company which focuses on Mobile apps, The interview process was pretty much as mentioned. I was given a small questionare related to my major, which honestly, I didn't do too well, What surprised me was that as mentioned here, no one even took a look at that paper over which i spent a good 40 minutes.
    Afterwords, I was invited to meet the MD which was just an informal talk(nothing related to technical things). The third meeting was about the package and the offer.

    My company wasn't willing to give me the minimum 47.5k, however, the rules (as already mentioned in comments sections) have changed now. The minimum amount now is 37.5 K for fresh international graduates from Taiwanese university with no experience, and honestly, With 1-2 year experience , you are in a position to claim 50-60k. My company offered me an yearly package of 485,000 which is nearly 40.5k/month. It's not great but not bad either, enough for a decent living.

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  22. Hi MKL,

    Thanks for the insightful posts... Similar to Chris, I want to return to Taiwan so badly. However, my situation is different because I'm already married and want to bring my two young kids to Taiwan to learn Chinese. (So marrying a Taiwanese is not an option.)

    As someone who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese (educated in Taipei until age 13), has professional work experience (hospitality sales and administrative assistant) in the US, but only an AA degree, what suggestion do you have? I've been applying on the 104 site for two weeks now but no luck. (Perhaps it's because I'm still here in US? Or, lack of university degree?) What's your take?

    @Jenna, do you think it's possible to land a corporate English teaching job without a 4 yr degree?

    Thank you both for your response.

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  23. @Eastlaker1: I think in the past two weeks very HR managers checked profiles on 104, because it's lunar new year and annual leave. And two weeks in general is too little to get any offers. From what my friends tell me, recently it's a little bit harder to get a good job, because the economy doesn't grow that much, a lot of companies cost down and are very careful about hiring new people. Next week it's back to business and HRs will check 104.com more, but you also have to know, that a lot of people are now switching jobs, so it will also be more competitive. I don't think your university degree is necessary a problem, but I'd say the fact that you are not here in Taipei will make it harder when you get some interview offers. I think when you tell them that you are still in the US and don't have work permit and apartment here, some might get turned off by that and might rather invite someone, who is living here - there are a plenty options for them. I don't say it's impossible to find a job this way, but it's definitely gonna be hard. Nevertheless, you might get lucky, so keep trying.

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  24. @Anonymous
    I'm curious, which nationality are you? From the sound of things, you sound a bit Asian to me. I don't think is Jenna's fault that learning Chinese is rocket science. I've known a German guy who only learn Chinese for a year and a half, and he can literally text Chinese at 100 mph. Basically I think it depends on the learning curve, not all foreigners can learn Chinese that fast, in some cases, some do learn it faster than others.

    @MKL
    First and foremost, I want to congratulate you for successfully finding a job that you like. It can get frustrating to find a good job with a decent salary, no matter who you are. Despite the education backgrounds you may have, most of the time, connections and referrals are usually your bread and butter to find a job in Taiwan. There are a lot of websites that you can post your resume, but most of the companies will look at the referrals before they take a serious look at the web postings. That's why it usually can take weeks before you get a call from the company for a interview.

    @Jenna Cody
    I'm currently working at an LED company as an junior sales, and like you've mentioned, I'm a victim of the "cube monkey", which I desperately want to get out of. I admit, I'm not that good with teaching, but I will want to consider it if the pay is decent enough. I was hoping to get into teaching, but I'm not quite sure what are the minimum standards and the pre-requisites are to get into teaching in Taiwan these days. It would be nice to hear some feedback from you regarding this.

    Thanks!

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  25. @Edward Yang: Thanks for your comment. I'd say connections are referrals are necessary, if you want to advance in your career, but just to find a job it's not necessary. The problem is that you'll start from the bottom and have to work yourself up, usually from a small cubicle. :)

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  26. @MKL

    Hi am a INDIAN and I graduated masters wit 3 yrs of work exp in HR profile,Am coming to taiwan to do my Msc in HR.And I wanna settle in taiwan for a while as I Love Chinnese culture..So ist easy to get a HR profile job in Taiwan once I complete my masters there.And currently my chinnese lang skils is zero but once I come thr am plannin to learn mandarin along wit my masters..
    Thanks and ur blog is really helpfull..

    ReplyDelete
  27. @Dennis Thompson: Sorry, but I have no idea about how hard it is to get an HR job in Taiwan, but according to what I've seen, you will need to have a very good command in Mandarin to be HR. Most of internal systems and procedures are in spoken and written Chinese. There is some English, but it takes second place behind Mandarin. Maybe it's different, if you find a job in a foreign company, not sure. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  28. hi ! i also want to get married with taiwanesse girl .and to go there ,,or like first to go and 2nd to get married. of course i need a job ,so how ca i do if i have no any experiense or profesion .do they have any jobs for me ? and my chinesse is no so good .so how can i do ? could you please to help me ?
    , you can to text me on mail to be more sure wil get your info.... danutsa.vasile@gmail.com thank you verry much

    ReplyDelete
  29. @Danuta Vasile: No experience and no profession and no chinese? If I were you, I would try to change at least one of these facts in order to have a prospect of something.

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  30. Hi MKL,

    How about jobs in Sales or Marketing? I am from India and arrived Taiwan 3 months ago. I knew from the beginning that having Chinese language skills is almost mandatory for any Job except probably IT. And so studied chinese for 3 months already. I am here for another 3 months but I think thats how far our normal Visa can take us.

    Thanks
    Vic

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  31. @Anonymous: Everything's in the post above and you've partly answered your own question.

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  32. plsss.. can a Nigerian man also work in Taiwan, as a first degree holder from my country.. I studied computer science education..

    ReplyDelete
  33. @Anonymous: I have no idea about the bilateral agreements between Nigeria and ROC, you better look into that and ask your authorities about the possibilities. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi MKL,

    First of all, I want to thank you for sharing your experiences in this blog. I'm a Belgian citizen who's married to a Taiwanese woman and we're planning our move to Taiwan because of the lack of interesting job opportunities in Europe at the moment. Teaching English seemed like an option, but I'm not holding a British passport which means I can't work for an English language school (Despite having lived in Australia for 2 years).
    Now, my native language is Dutch, but I've also been raised in French. I even speak a bit of German and Spanish as well, but unfortunately no Mandarin. Do you reckon there are any job opportunities based on the languages I speak? My whole career, I've been working in hospitality, more specific hotel management, and now I would be very happy to find a tourism related job in Taiwan. But even with my experience, I've got the impression it might be very hard to find such a job without speaking any Mandarin, or am I wrong about this?
    Thanks again to anyone sharing their experiences and information, it's all very helpful to me at this stage.

    ReplyDelete
  35. @Koen: Thanks for your kind words. I wouldn't bother much about not knowing Mandarin, it's not a problem for Europeans in Taipei to get a job. If it's a company, that is exporting, your English, French and Dutch language skill will be a big asset. I have no idea about the tourism industry, but I would say with French you have the biggest plus, because it's quite rare here. And Taiwanese companies export a lot of technology to France, so if I were you, the French language skill would be something I would emphasize the most when looking for job here.

    Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi MKL,

    Thanks a lot for your post, probably one of the best I've read so far from my research.

    I've also been thinking of moving to Taiwan in the coming year, I've been there before for a short trip (one month) but don't have much of a clue what kind of jobs opportunities there are for me. I've been reading mostly about IT and English teaching jobs, but I'm not much interested in either.

    I have a background in Mechanical Engineering and just finished a bach in Industrial Design at the University of Montreal. French is also my maiden language (and fluent in English of course).
    Do you have any idea if there are any possibilities for work in Taipei (not necessarily Taipei) for someone with my background?

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  37. @Alex: I'm sure with your background you could get a job, but engineers work long hours, and Chinese language is very important in such environment, but like always in Taiwan, you can try your luck. Many foreigners get jobs which they never expected, and they have a good career. That's all I can say, because I am not very familiar in your field.

    Anyway, best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  38. This really gets me when people write articles like this. You act as if you've solved some mysterious problem when your ARC card due to your marriage made it about 95% easier for you. I lived all around the world and fortunately have a business of my own through my trademark. But dude, how have you become the expert on this when 95% of your obstacles were eliminated based on your marriage to a Taiwanese citizen??????? Tell people the hard truth. Your ARC card eliminated all the crap one has to go through in obtaining a real job.

    Your first statement should be..."well, first, I married a Taiwanese citizen, and that got me my ARC card..."

    Folks without that you've got a hard road ahead of you. Not impossible but darn near.

    ReplyDelete
  39. @B Braggs: It always gets me when people write comments like this. I work in an international company, I have about 10 foreign colleagues across several business units, only 3 of us are married with a Taiwanese girl. The rest got work permit by the company, because they are great professionals. And even if you have ARC, a job is not guaranteed. Don't vent your anger and frustrations on me. I never said I was an expert, I'm just sharing things based ob my experience, and many people appreciate it. If you don't like it, there's is an X button on top of the page.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Dude, no anger here. Mad respect. But it would help more if you told the story from your colleagues' perspectives who did this by getting hired by a company who helped them obtain their work permits. Most people don't know how hard this is. And it can be very difficult.

    You've eliminated yourself from valid counsel based on you being married to a Taiwanese national. Your validity is shaky. Most people who are interested in working in Taiwan are not married to Taiwanese nationals. And the ARC does add many perks if you are qualified and have an applicable degree. And you know this.

    Telling the story from your colleagues' perspectives who aren't married to a Taiwanese national and working non-english teaching jobs holds a lot more validity for most people reading this article... including me.

    Holla back!

    ReplyDelete
  41. May I ask... for 60k in a sales role is it considered a high salary in tpe? I'm from Singapore and if I do a direct conversion, it is not high but pls educate me.. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  42. @Anonymous: Well, for sales it really depends. Generally, 60k is considered a good salary in general for Taiwanese people. But for sales, you better look what you will get annually. Sales usually have additional new year salaries (if 1 additional, then the company is not that good, if 2, 3 or more, then it's a good one). And then there should be the sales bonus, which depends reaching a sales target for a certain market. I know of people who got 12 salaries of sales bonus. So the basic calculation for you should be 14 salaries (common) annually, which makes it 840k. And maybe 2-3 salaries as a bonus, and you're over 1 mil NTD. You also have to know that Taipei is much cheaper than Singapore, especially if you live in a suburb, so with 60k you live much better here than there.

    ReplyDelete
  43. good day
    im taiwanese but was raised and recently graduated as cum laude major in psychology in Philippines. my mandarin is only intermediate level. im having trouble finding a work which has an english speaking environment especially related to my degree. im afraid my options are getting narrower (to be factory worker or less). i returned to taiwan because my mother is here. To be honest, i feel hopeless for my future. what do you think i should do and what are my other options?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi MKL,

    I just finished my bachelor degree program in IT and have the intention to work in Taiwan. I've been browsing for information and I bumped your blog :) Does Taiwan employer want foreign fresh graduate? I'm proficient in Mandarin and English but without working experience lol. Can you give me some advices and guidelines on how can I be employed in Taiwan successfully?

    ReplyDelete
  45. @George: But I wrote this post about it.

    ReplyDelete
  46. It's not informative enough because I'm from Malaysia. Besides "the job-hunt website" like http://www.104.com.tw/, is there any alternative one i.e. English-based? And would you like to share the level of living expenses in Taiwan? Thanks for the quick response anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  47. @Jenna If you are studying chinese full time like you are studying for your law degree or mba and you want to learn chinese you will be able to read a newspaper after 24 months. I am a chinese linguist trained by the military and we learn how to be chinese translators and read newspaper articles in 15 months in both simplified and traditional. We studied 8 hours a day 5 days a week not including homework and afterschool speaking practice so if you want to make excuses for yourself and say you cant do it then you wont be able to do it. Lucky for us we had tons of motivation from our superiors and also if we didnt learn chinese to a certain proficiency level by the end of training we would lose our jobs. Also stop commenting on things you dont know anything about. Studying a language fulltime is not the same as not studying and copying what local people say.

    ReplyDelete
  48. i am an Indian .how can i get a job in taiwan.i am currently doing b.tech in computer science .i am a girl .what are the chances for a girl

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hi guys . I want to go ti taiwan for next summer after i will graduate my University biology faculty .i have a girlfriend there and study now Chinese guess till summer will speak well. ..but have no idea what job to look for. I thought about English teacher but i am no native speaker i am from moldova. So guess please help me with any suggestions. .i really need to get there .by the way I can do anything to do any job just to earn enough money for provide my future wife and me . Please give me a advice. Thank you guys.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Hi I m French I just graduated a master degree in supply chain management / logistics. Is there a chance to find a job in Taiwan knowing that I don't have long experience (only internships) and I don't speak Chinese? My girlfriend is Taiwanese but we r not married yet. Thx for your post

    ReplyDelete
  51. @Anonymous: Yes, it's possible, if the company exports to France, you have a good chance. Not many French speakers in Taiwan generally, so that's a big advantage for you. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi. This article looks nice. But, I disagree about 104.com.tw. That job bank site sucks. Imagine, I already had 200+ job applications, only 2 companies replied to me (October-December 2013).. and unfortunately, they just rejected me. I am Civil Engineer by profession (for almost 5 years), have design & construction experiences in Philippines, middle-east (Dubai, UAE), & Hawaii, USA projects. I am married to Taiwanese (for more than 2 years). My Chinese is still under-study. I am fluent in English. Yet, I haven't received any response from almost all Taiwanese companies whom I sent my CVs. I feel so frustrated & sometimes hopeless, but I still keep holding on until I get hired. I prefer to work here in Taiwan & live with my wife. Long-distance relationship drove me crazy, hehe.

    Thanks.

    Julius, 28yo, juliuspc_071785@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hi. Thank you for all the interesting posts and replies.

    I am a Singaporean who wants to work in Taipei. I am a pharamcist by training but I am working in a CRO company now (which I plan to quit shortly since it does not value add me as a practising pharmacist).

    I was in the hospital for a couple of years prior to this and I naively believed that I can get a transfer to the Taipei HQ after two years. Little did I know that this is rarely possible because the market in TW and Sg is rather dissimilar.

    Anyway, I will like to check with you if you have any friends who are in the healthcare sector? I will like to read more on their experiences. Like you said, doing research is crucial and I believe these resources will help.

    Thank you so much and hope you have enjoyed the Chinese culture so far. I love Taiwan!

    ziyun_lim@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  54. hi i alreadi posted before some qastions about how to stay in Taiwan and to get a job . at the moment i prepare to degree biology with teching compartiment i mean i have a teaching license and a little bit chinese .i would like to try to apply for learn Mandarin or master . what can you adice me please .i amRomanian so i dont need a vis to get there ,but its hard a little for ARC maybe .
    thank you

    ReplyDelete
  55. @ MKL or Anyone who replies( :) ): I think this is the right place to post this query. I am Kirthikanth from India. I am working with a small company here in India. I have experience of 5 years into Technical Support, IT Help Desk, Microsoft Certified, Subject Matter expert. I am looking for an opportunity to go to Taiwan. I am sure it's not very easy. I am from family with less financial savings, lot of responsibilities. I have 4 year degree in Computers, and a 3 year degree again in computers. Do you think I will be able to get a job being in India? I don't know anything about the Chinese (Mandarin) language. I read almost all your posts in this thread also from tourism post. I am also looking forward to know about how much I will have to spend on VISA and coming there and living for one month with no job? Please advice about my job as well. Thank you for all your patience and understanding.

    ReplyDelete
  56. I did one 90-day internship for a summer job back in 2010. It didn't cause me a problem, and my girlfriend at the time found my job through the PTT BBS command-line Telnet forum (amazingly historical tech). My job involved helping an iPhone app developer to download TV guide data, and beta test. I was paid $30,000 cash in hand each month, and that was more than enough for living costs (rent was only $6000 per month!).

    Now there's a Working Holiday Visa that was introduced for British citizens in 2012. It allows people to work for up to 12 months, apparently. Do you know anybody who has this visa, and whether I can convert from a tourist visa to a Working Holiday while in Taiwan? I'm currently in India, and would rather not fly to the UK just to fly over to Taiwan right after.

    My friend checked my 104 profile after I used Chrome's translation feature to set it up in the first place. I'm also heavily using YouLing, an app I wrote for mouse-over translation (http://peterburk.github.com/youling). I haven't had companies contact me though: I've sent 95 applications this week already, each with a (slightly) personalised cover letter.

    Thanks for the warning about the English teaching industry too: several friends have suggested it as an option. I just think I'd be bad at disciplining kids, so I've declined so far, but now I have more reason to avoid that.

    ReplyDelete
  57. i am an northeast indian and i have a valid passport so, i want to work in taiwan how can i be hired by any companies in taiwan i am ready to do any kind of work...... i have checked some websites but thats only in chinese or taiwanis language.... i want to work for my family how can i cme there and work..... sugest me it will be a great help

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  58. 'was inspired by your blog... I'm also an IT person in the Philippines.. can someone apply in IT companies in Taiwan even if he's not yet residing there? Thank you

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  59. Hi
    i will be marrying my Taiwanese GF next year, i have a 12 Years Experience in Travel and Tourism industry and holds a diploma in Air Travel Management, i cant speak or read Chinese, will it be too difficult for me to get a job after having a ARC

    ReplyDelete
  60. @Sameer Khan: I don't know, not my domain.

    ReplyDelete
  61. hi
    i am indian lady living in taiwan with my husband (indian ) .he is working here .. i want to get a job here . i having ARC but not work permit .. so please tell me that is it required necessary or not and how to get it from ?

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  62. I am a IT person in Software QA domain. How could I apply jobs in Taiwan ( any consultancy do this) ? I will be marrying my Taiwanese GF next year 2015 and looking to get settle in next year starting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Manish: But that's exactly what I am writing about in my post.

      Delete
  63. Hi,

    I am a finance graduate but without the two years working experience. I recently got a job which falls within the Specialists or technicians area, but not sure if I stand a chance to be accepted for work permit. Please advise!

    ReplyDelete


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