getting permanent residency/citizenship and surviving financially

hi,

i'm an abc (american born chinese).  i speak english fluently, as you can see, and i know a tiny bit of mandarin.

i have a bachelor's degree in psychology.  basically i don't have any useful skills.

i have a few questions:

1. what are my chances of getting permanent residency or citizenship in taiwan?

2. what are my chances of getting a job in taiwan?

3. what are my chances of surviving financially in taiwan?

4. how easy is it to get a job teaching english legally in taiwan?

5. could i survive financially teaching english legally in taiwan?

6. according to wikitravel, people switch between taiwanese and mandarin in taiwan.  so does that mean i have to learn 2 languages if i move to taiwan?

7. when i was a little kid, a teacher at chinese school (yes, i went to chinese school, but i did not learn much there.  i only know a little bit of mandarin) told me that when you live in taiwan, you wake up with black stuff in your nose because of all the air pollution.  is that true?

8.  it seems, from my limited research, that taipei is the only city in taiwan with normal/healthy levels of air pollution.  what do you think?

thanks

All your questions have been asked before and some of them many times.  There are dozens of FB pages that deal with these issues.  It is a simple matter to search and find.  I am not sure if I can post page names here..... simply search various user groups including  Foreigners society in Taiwan, HOW TO GET YOUR APRC IN TAIWAN,  etc etc etc   you'll figure it out.  Good Luck.

This is funny:

"i have a bachelor's degree in psychology.  basically i don't have any useful skills."

Basically everyone speaks Mandarin in Taiwan although many very elderly people prefer to speak in Taiwanese, however, they all understand Mandarin. You only need to learn Mandarin.

If I were in your position then I would be applying for scholarships to learn Mandarin in Taiwan. I first went to Taiwan on a one year scholarship, but if not then as a native English speaker you should be able to find a job as a teacher.

Why not join a mandarin course in the USA and begin that way. Your chances of getting a scholarship might be greatly improved with something like that under your belt. Once you are in Taiwan the cost of living can be pretty cheap but it all depends on what standard of living you want. I believe in going back to basics and living basically as a student in order to get to where I am going, having done that a couple of times in my life. Once there, you can be looking for jobs all the time, while studying Mandarin and teaching English part-time.

Salaries vary enormously depending on where you will teach but I am sure you will not accept a job where the salary doesn't cover your living expenses.  Also, once you do have a teaching job you can also teach part-time on the side to bring in additional income.

As for getting black nostrils, sure if you ride a motorbike or scooter in the city without anything covering your face it might happen. But if you take trains, subway or buses then it isn't going to happen.

And I agree with cmgorae above, it's a matter of spending time searching and list yourself. I believe Taiwan is not one of the most difficult countries in Asia to find an English teaching job or to move there.

Thanks

Shill88 :

And I agree with cmgorae above, it's a matter of spending time searching and list yourself. I believe Taiwan is not one of the most difficult countries in Asia to find an English teaching job or to move there.

I am curious how long ago you lived in Taiwan. The government has become more strict in giving visas to foreign teachers in recent years and is more open about enforcing laws on illegal schools.

misterinternational :

6. according to wikitravel, people switch between taiwanese and mandarin in taiwan.  so does that mean i have to learn 2 languages if i move to taiwan?

7. when i was a little kid, a teacher at chinese school (yes, i went to chinese school, but i did not learn much there.  i only know a little bit of mandarin) told me that when you live in taiwan, you wake up with black stuff in your nose because of all the air pollution.  is that true?

8.  it seems, from my limited research, that taipei is the only city in taiwan with normal/healthy levels of air pollution.  what do you think?

Taiwanese is a local language mostly spoken by older people, as stated above, and mostly in more rural areas of the country.

That teacher was likely from Mainland China and expressing her prejudice against the people of Taiwan. Taipei is the largest city in Taiwan and as polluted as Kaohsiung and Taichung, if not more so. However, the air quality is not alarming by international standards. Western Taiwan is not especially dirty or especially clean. The east coast of Taiwan is largely unpopulated and clean. It is also full of beautiful natural scenery. Visitors who remain on the west coast miss a great deal the nation has to offer.

Yes the older generation in Taiwan often speak Taiwanese. I lived in Raohe Street (the night market street) for about a year with a Taiwanese family and the younger family members spoke to me in Mandarin while the elderly folk spoke to me in Taiwanese (including the house staff) but I only understood Mandarin apart from a few simple sentences in Taiwanese. The rest of my time was living close to Heping E. Rd in an old Japanese house near the university.

I lived permanently in Taipei in 1987 or 88. Usually I come back for a month or two every now and again as the people I stayed with treat me as their own family, last visit a couple of months ago. Definitely, things were easier and less strict back then, not just in Taiwan but in most Asian countries.

The government has not only become more strict on giving visas to foreign teachers but also very strict on residency permits. As is often the case in Asia, it is worth knowing people in the places.

Taipei must have been very different in 1987. I cannot imagine the city without the MRT and a constant internet connection.

It is good that you lived with a family. That must have been extremely helpful.

It was amazing. They made me part of their family from the start because they were introduced to me by a friend in the UK who knew the elder brother. But that house used to be an office and only the youngest son and mother lived there while the other family members lived in their apartment block or in the US. I could just come and go as I wanted, and they did my laundry, and I joined them for food every meal. We are still very close even till now.

The night market is basically the same as it was in 1987, but Taipei has changed so much. I had a motorbike back then so did a lot of exploring, but now I'd be scared to ride a motorbike there.

I did spend quite some time there around 2002 - 3 and went around everywhere by bus, which was really nice and very easy. I mean as long as you speak Mandarin then getting around is pretty easy by bus and taxi.

I have driven in many countries and would never consider driving in Taipei. It seems like every place thinks they have the worst traffic and most careless drivers. People in the Middle East are especially proud of their terrible driving conditions, but it is safe and relaxed compared to Taipei. I was even warned about dangerous drivers in North Carolina, which has large, open roads and few to no other cars. I recently drove from New York to North Carolina. I woud rather do that every day than drive one hour in Taipei. Fortunately, there is the MRT.

Taipei is definitely worse now than it used to be. Drivers seem to drive really fast but they still follow the rules, they don;t run red lights etc. Singapore and Tokyo it's the same, fast driving but fast braking and follow the rules. I drove in Malaysia and that was easy, now in Indonesia and they are terrible drivers but they don't drive like the wind so still alright. But agree about Taipei, it's gotten less nice than before.

I see cars driving through red light in Taipei every day. I see cars driving on the wrong side of the road, driving at night without headlights, and parking any place they please. Even worse are the scooters. Following the rules is not how I would describe Taipei driving.

You'd probably get a heart attack if you saw the traffic in Indonesia. Everything you know and learned when taking driving lessons is totally irrelevant in Indonesia and probably many people driving paid for their license after failing numerous times, one reason why the police are so wealthy...lol

I can confirm Shil's asessment of Taiwan's traffic: I had a car there myself and drove in all imaginable places (and a few more). It might be a nightmare for those who expect rules to be kept, but for all others it is o.k. and well made up for by the friendliness of the people (and that includes drivers, too).
Though the suicidal scooters are a different matter altogether ...
Despite this, driving in Thailand was worse (still somehow manageable) and I won't ever drive in Indonesia!

I didn't encounter any undue pollution in Taiwan - the grey skies in the plains are mostly weather-related - and even then, it is easy to escape to the crystal clear air of the mountains (IF you have a car!).

My research reveals that it's almost impossible to obtain citizenship.  As to permanent residency, Taiwan has an Alien Residency Card or ARC.  That is very difficult to obtain unless you are gainfully employed or have a valid offer of employment. 

As a retiree interested in retiring to Taiwan I found it almost impossible.  I'm surprised Taiwan would want to lose such potential a source of revenue.  Retirees who retire overseas are usually well set financially. Thus they wouldn't be a burden on Taiwan's infrastructure.  Hell, my Social Security income is higher than the Taiwanese average income.

Anyway, I digress.  Here's an English link to the Taiwan immigration ministry:  https://www.immigration.gov.tw/5475/

Good luck.

arnie :

My research reveals that it's almost impossible to obtain citizenship.   Good luck.

Your research is clearly wrong.  I obtained citizenship in the 1990's.  Since 2000 over 140,000 expats have become citizens in Taiwan. Since 2000 less than 16000 APRC have been issued.

Taiwan does not offer overseas retirees residency. There is no need for Taiwan to provide that.

Khalida.UNC :
Shill88 :

And I agree with cmgorae above, it's a matter of spending time searching and list yourself. I believe Taiwan is not one of the most difficult countries in Asia to find an English teaching job or to move there.

I am curious how long ago you lived in Taiwan. The government has become more strict in giving visas to foreign teachers in recent years and is more open about enforcing laws on illegal schools.

The rules have not changed and it is not harder to get an ARC to be a teacher at a cram school. For public schools you need a degree and local teaching license from your home country.

What has changed is that in the past many people used forged degrees and backgrounds to get their work permits.  Since the government changed the processes to verify educational documents and also added a police check for teachers those who graduated from the University of Photoshop have not been able to get work permits. Some people who used fake degrees have had their APRC Permament residency or work permits cancelled and they were deported.

misterinternational :

hi,

i'm an abc (american born chinese).  i speak english fluently, as you can see, and i know a tiny bit of mandarin.

i have a bachelor's degree in psychology.  basically i don't have any useful skills.

i have a few questions:

1. what are my chances of getting permanent residency or citizenship in taiwan?

2. what are my chances of getting a job in taiwan?

3. what are my chances of surviving financially in taiwan?

4. how easy is it to get a job teaching english legally in taiwan?

5. could i survive financially teaching english legally in taiwan?

6. according to wikitravel, people switch between taiwanese and mandarin in taiwan.  so does that mean i have to learn 2 languages if i move to taiwan?

7. when i was a little kid, a teacher at chinese school (yes, i went to chinese school, but i did not learn much there.  i only know a little bit of mandarin) told me that when you live in taiwan, you wake up with black stuff in your nose because of all the air pollution.  is that true?

8.  it seems, from my limited research, that taipei is the only city in taiwan with normal/healthy levels of air pollution.  what do you think?

thanks

Being an ABC means nothing. Unless you have a parent from Taiwan who has household registration in Taiwan then your ethnicity means nothing.  There are plenty of places outside of Taipei where teachers are in demand.  Lot's of people live very well in Taiwan on English teachers salaries which are often twice what many citizens earn.

Avai,

What is the source of your information?  I am retired and have no desire to work in Taiwan.  How many unemployed retirees have received permanent residency cards/Visas?  And what is the source of your information?

I have read the rules and regulations regarding permanent residency and see no way that an unemployed retiree can permanently live in Taiwan.

The rules and regulations regarding immigration have been vastly changed since the 1990's.

Avai,  Your last sentence is exactly what I mean.  There is NO way for a retiree to retire to Taiwan.  Many other countries do offer methods to retire permanently to their countries.

The point I was making is that Taiwan is losing out on a very good source of revenue.  As I said, most American retirees are rich and their money would contribute to Taiwan's economy.  They certainly wouldn't be a burden to Taiwan.

Taiwan's rules used to provide a means for retirees to live permanently in Taiwan as long as they met certain income requirements.  That method has been removed in recent years.  It seems nonsensical to me that Taiwan does not take retirees into consideration.

Most countries do not welcome unproductive immigrants, which includes retirees - unless they are very rich. From an economic standpoint, it makes sense: Any resident is a burden (and thus cost) to public services, but since direct taxes aren't enough to pay for all, a real economic contribution is needed (and not just spending money earned elsewhere, with no added value).

Australia welcomes retiree, however they cannot get any social security or medical benefits they have to pay for everything. They cannot get permanent residency. They must also show proof of satisfactory retirement income. 

I am having Tri focal lense surgery done in Australia in February. Even being an Australian citizen I cannot claim on local medical as I do not live there.  Not really a problem as I have other private insurance which will cover most of it.

arnie :

Avai,  Your last sentence is exactly what I mean.  There is NO way for a retiree to retire to Taiwan.  Many other countries do offer methods to retire permanently to their countries.

The point I was making is that Taiwan is losing out on a very good source of revenue.  As I said, most American retirees are rich and their money would contribute to Taiwan's economy.  They certainly wouldn't be a burden to Taiwan.

Taiwan's rules used to provide a means for retirees to live permanently in Taiwan as long as they met certain income requirements.  That method has been removed in recent years.  It seems nonsensical to me that Taiwan does not take retirees into consideration.

Well you could just live here and do 90 day visa runs like others.  :)
Taiwan never had a retiree program so no idea where you got that information from.  The government had discussed it and decided it was not warranted.  It might be nonsensical to you but it isn't to Taiwan.

Khalida.UNC :

Taiwanese is a local language mostly spoken by older people, as stated above, and mostly in more rural areas of the country.

Not so. Nowadays you wont get some jobs if you are not fluent in Taiwanese and that includes in Taipei.  Many young people speak Taiwanese. Some people in this mid 40's and older may not as the KMT banned Taiwanese from being spoken at school before.

Now Taiwanese is taught at schools.  My own son grew up speaking Taiwanese as a first language and Mandarin as a second language.

I would be more than happy to pay Taiwan income taxes on my retirement income.

arnie :

I would be more than happy to pay Taiwan income taxes on my retirement income.

Well if you now live here on a visitor visa more than 183 days a year you would be legally required to do so under new tax laws.  So come on over.  You can satisfy yourself that you can contribute to Taiwan.

Hsinchu City
新竹市[i]

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/79/Hsinchu_City_Montage.png

a good sized city not to big, not to small.
Lots of high tech companies,  this  means people have disposable income to spend on their kids and most understand the need for english....
Many what are called cram schools teaching english..

The requirements have been increased from what I understand to be able to teach and remain certified to teach english in general to include getting a background check ever 6 months or so from the local police station. 

The results of some bad experiences with foreign english teachers

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