Expats looking to take up employment will need a work permit for Taiwan. Most foreigners moving to Taiwan obtain a work permit with the help of an employer, which removes much of the stress and tension normally caused by navigating government bureaucracy.
Getting a work permit in Taiwan
Over the past decade, Taiwan has made large strides in allowing more leeway for international companies to fulfil their staffing needs with foreign nationals. The application process for work permits has been streamlined, and many restrictions have been relaxed or even lifted for multinationals.
A foreigner's work permit in Taiwan is tied to their employer, so if an expat changes jobs or employers, they must apply for a new work permit. An employer must start the work permit process by applying with the Workforce Development Agency. It's best to check the agency's website for a list of required documents.
Getting an Alien Resident Certificate in Taiwan
Once granted a work permit, the process for obtaining a residence visa and an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) can begin. Having an ARC means that an expat is a permanent resident and is therefore entitled to National Health Insurance.
In order to become a legal permanent resident and receive an ARC, however, expats must fulfil the following criteria at a minimum:
Pass a health check (not necessary for those from visa waiver countries or in possession of a residence visa)
Have a work permit (which will be arranged by their employer)
Have a residence visa (which can be applied for either at the Taiwanese embassy in one's home country or from within Taiwan if one has entered the country on a visitor's visa)
An ARC is issued for the same length of time as a work permit. An ARC will become invalid as soon as an expat's work permit expires or if they leave their place of employment.
Taiwan Employment Gold Card
The Taiwan Employment Gold Card is a key initiative by the Taiwanese government to attract top-tier international professionals. Introduced in 2018, the card combines a work permit, resident visa, Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and a re-entry permit, all valid for one to three years. This allows holders to work, stay and move in and out of Taiwan with relative freedom, all while being recognised as legal residents.
The Gold Card stands out for its flexibility, allowing holders to freely change jobs, seek employment and even work part-time legally. It also eliminates the need for job security prior to moving to Taiwan, as qualification is based on professional skill assessment, not a pre-arranged job offer.
The cost of the Gold Card varies based on the nationality of the applicant and the card's duration. Conveniently done online, the application process can take around 30 days for a perfect application. However, if additional supporting documents are needed, applicants may expect a 50 to 60 day timeframe.
The Gold Card also offers several noteworthy benefits. Unlike typical work permits, the Gold Card is issued directly to individuals, removing the need for employer involvement in the application process. Gold Card holders working in Taiwan for the first time may qualify for a 50 percent tax exemption on annual salary income exceeding a set amount for the first five years.
After three years, Gold Card holders (excluding residents of Hong Kong and Macao) can apply for permanent residency, with any earned doctorate degree in Taiwan counting towards one of the required three years. Furthermore, Gold Card holders and their dependent relatives can join the National Health Insurance system without the typical six-month waiting period, provided they are employed in professional work, employers or self-employed business owners in Taiwan.
Are you an expat living in Taiwan?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Taiwan. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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