What’s the difference between an ARC and a Work Permit?

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In Taiwan, every foreigner needs to be acquainted with an understand what these two documents are and what they do and don’t do. Here’s a brief summary along with links to the appropriate content online.

ARC – Alien Resident Card
This is exactly what it says. Every non-resident of Taiwan who intends to live and work in Taiwan must possess an ARC. There are different types of ARC’s, but basically, it is a card verifying that the Taiwanese government has given you permission to reside in Taiwan legally for a specified period of time. Usually the period of time is tied to your work permit, a separate document issued by a different government department.

Foreigners who enter Taiwan from some countries are eligible for visa-exempt entry up to 90 days. Many foreigners enter Taiwan upon one of these 90 day visitor visa’s and then seek to find a job. It is recommended by many that you plan on having $2000 – $3000 US dollars for a single person to live on while you are looking for a job and to get yourself set up.

Link 1 – How does a foreigner apply for an ARC?
Link 2 – NIA Information about ARC’s

Work Permit
A work permit is a document which gives a foreigner legal permission to work in Taiwan. It is illegal for any foreigner to work in Taiwan without a valid work permit. An application for a work permit is initiated by your employer and then approved by the government for a specific period of time. Usually, depending on your employer, it can be renewed, which will then allow your ARC to be renewed.

Link 1 – Applications & Information

Link 2 – Question and Answers about Work Permits

If you work in Taiwan without a work permit, here are the potential fines and consequences:
According to Article 68 of Employment Service Act, foreign workers shall be penalized with a fine of no less than NT$ 30,000 and not exceeding NT$ 150,000, and be compelled to leave the country without delay. As to employers, per Article 63 of Employment Service Act, he or she shall be fined an amount of no less than NT$ 150,000 and not exceeding NT$ 750,000. In case the person re-commits the said offence within five years, he or she shall be punished to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years, forced labor-service, or payment of a fine of NT$ 1,200,000, or to both imprisonment and payment of a fine of not exceeding NT$ 1,200,000.

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