Taiwan to allow waiving 2 years work experience requirement for bachelor degree holders

Update (5/13/2013): I was just checking Taiwan’s Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training for information about work permits for foriegners, and it turns out that Taiwan now allows a “consulting mechanism” to waive the 2 years work experience requirement for bachelor degree holders for people who want to apply for work permits in Taiwan. 

In other words, if you can demonstrate that you have skills that local Taiwanese do not have, then you can qualify for a work permit and work at a Taiwanese company without the 2 years work experience.

I’ll break down the law in detail below:

work permit requirement announcement 2

They have a pdf which details the process right here.

Here’s the quote:

To summarize the above, the specialized or technical work that foreigners
are employed to engage in shall comply with one of the qualifications
listed under four subsections in Article 5 of the Criteria Standard, in which
under Subsection 2, a foreigner with the credential of a master’s degree or
above from a university in the ROC or a foreign country does not need
working experience while a foreigner with a bachelor’s degree in a
relevant department shall have more than 2 years of working experience in
a specific field; under circumstances in Article 6 of the Criteria Standard,
employed foreigners may be exempted from the 2-year working
experience requirement after this Council consults and agrees with the
specific industry authorities at the central government level.

The consultation process can go like this. There’s an ad-hoc process as well as a general process.

This is how you waive your 2 years work experience!
This is how you waive your 2 years work experience!

The general process (very detailed and sort of boring to read through) basically requires a series of meetings and consultations with relevant government agencies. I didn’t want to quote that section as it is pretty hard to read (and poorly written).

The ad-hoc process is:

Conditions to initiate consultation: according to the relevant
information for ad-hoc consultation provided by the employer and
accepted by this Council, it is preliminarily decided that the
employed foreigner has the following criteria:

  • (A) There is a lack of this kind of professional skill in the country or the skill is less mature.
  • (B) It is hard to find or nurture someone with this kind of professional skill.
  • (C) The person has a high degree of professional skill or special expertise. 

The person shall meet one of the above qualification conditions,
and plan to engage specialized or technical work in the country,
and have a bachelor’s degree but does not have 2 years of
relevant working experience after obtaining the bachelor’s

Because this process of “consulting” seems very detailed (looks very bureaucratic when I see a lot of people talking), I wonder how the press is reacting to this change.

So far I haven’t seen anything from the Taipei Times referring to this change, but it is a sign that Taiwan is trying to make it easier to attract foreign talent. Currently, to get a work permit, one needed a) a bachelors degree w/ 2 years work experience. b) a masters degree c) 5 years work experience of a specialized field (for people w/o degree)

However, the key theme is that when applying to a job in Taiwan (non-English teaching jobs), you have to be willing to sell yourself and show why (or what do you have) that local talents don’t have but will help contribute to the local Taiwanese society and economy. It has to be worth the effort for them to go through this process.


From 4/12/2013.

 Overseas Chinese students and foreign students receiving education in Taiwan will be able to work in the nation directly after their graduation if their monthly pay can reach NT$37,619 (S$1,600), according the Cabinet-level Council of Labor Affairs (CLA).


Under the existing rules, overseas Chinese students and foreign students as well as other white-collar workers should have two years of working experience to become qualified to work in Taiwan, and their minimum monthly pay is set at NT$47,971.

There are an average of 3,500 to 4,500 foreign and overseas Chinese students coming to study in Taiwan per semester, mostly in the engineering, financial and business management departments.

In order to facilitate their working in Taiwan after graduation, the CLA yesterday resolved to relax restrictions mentioned above.

At yesterday’s panel meeting, the CLA decided to table another liberalization measure-allowing foreign graduates of the world’s top 100 universities and colleges to work in Taiwan without having to be subject to requirement of two years of working experience.


On the Taipei Times, a similar article was written last year:

CLA Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) said one regulation the government is looking to change is the two years of work experience requirement. Under the current law, foreign white-collar workers must have at least two years of work experience before they can be hired and their basic salary must be at least NT$47,971 (US$1,645).

Wang said the work experience requirement was meant to shorten the period employers would need to train new employees.

However, truly talented people will likely have good job prospects after working for two years, meaning there is little likelihood they would want to come to Taiwan to advance their careers, she said.

Wang said that the real cause behind the brain drain and low number of foreign workers might lie in the lack of good employment opportunities and attractive compensation.

Another change sought is the lowering of the minimum wage to “about the same as entry-level salaries for Taiwanese university graduates,” she said.

Wang added that another possible policy change regarding foreign white-collar workers would be the removal of the requirement that only graduates from the world’s top 100 universities may be hired.

The council defines “the world’s top 100 universities” by referring to three prominent rankings: The Times Higher Education Supplement from London, the ranking made by Shanghai’s Jiao Tong University and Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings.

She said she was curious how many graduates from the global top 100 higher education institutes would really want to work in Taiwan once the proposed changes were made.

“I don’t think a graduate from a top university will be willing to work in Taiwan for a monthly salary lower than NT$47,971,” Wang said

I’m still keeping up with this news, but this is making Taiwan more of an attractive place to work for foreigners. Sure, salaries may not be as high as the West, but being able to live in a foreign culture for several years, studying Mandarin, and also eating awesome food….. I think the experience is priceless.

The role of soft power in improving cultural bridges between China and the rest of the world

tale of two cities
Tale of Two Cities, Chinese Short Film featuring Audi Q3

When I told people that I was travelling to Taiwan for a week, I got these reactions:

  • “Wow, you are so adventurous!”
  • “Be careful and safe! Watch you are going. Put your money in your shoe!”

The experience of being in Taiwan was just amazing though; all that pessimism completely washed away once I was there. I really enjoyed the people, the food, the art/architecture, the music, the language. It was a completely different world that I was used to growing up in that I completely embraced, and feel compelled to share this experience to the world.

At the same time, for those people who have never been exposed to China / Taiwan, or have been exposed to a lot of the negative images (i.e. in PRC: Corruption, air pollution, food safety, huge wealth gap), these places may seem a bit scary to even visit for the foreigner  When I met one traveler abroad, he felt that going to China for traveling would be like the “Wild, Wild West”.

The thing is, while we cannot, as the media, wear rose-colored glasses completely at a country like China, which still has a lot of problems, I believe that the media can play a positive role in showing images, mediums, music, films, art, which can appeal to a wider audience and allow viewers from the outside learn more about another country’s culture.

South Korea for example, has done a great job using soft power (K Dramas, Kpop) to bring people to want to learn the language, sing the language, visit Korea, learn about Korean food, etc. While it’s not perfect, it is a step in bringing different people together from all around the world.

For me, the image of China that I want to see broken down is that Chinese society is not creative; they are the factory of the world and they are known for mass production. This is false:

NeoCha Website
NeochaEDGE’s web-magazine showcases inspiring creative content from China and around Asia. The website is curated daily and presented bilingually to bring readers around the world best-in-class original work across a variety of creative disciplines including graphic design, illustration, animation, film, fashion, photography, street / urban art, comics, painting, print-making, sculpture, industrial design, products / toys, and music.

Above: Sean Leow of Neocha on Creativity In China.

In a time where the strongest relationships, ability to be comfortable with different types of people, learning from different professions, ability to work in a team, are needed to solve the world’s toughest challenges and problems (i.e. global warming), I believe that:

We cannot under-estimate the role of soft power to build trust, empathy between different cultures. Whether it be through art, television, movies, music, or other forms of medium, regardless of how awesome your idea is, if your team cannot work together well, an idea will not go through.



Two articles on American economy

For her long days, Casey McIntyre, 28, a book publicist, relies on “large coffees.”

The No Limits Job, New York Times (link): Despite being an ambitious generation with a lot of passion, energy, Generation Y seems to be working longer and longer hours (i.e. internships) with very little or no pay and little returns in the long run.

U.S. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs aren’t there, Washington Post (link): Despite the Obama administration pushing for more jobs in STEM, the process of finding a well-paying, stable, job in research is actually even more challenging as supply is still greater than demand.