What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby sandman » 15 Jan 2011, 15:39

I'd like to see sandman, steelersman and sulavaca chime in on this one

I do whatever I like here. Have done for 20 years or more. MANY of those things would not be tolerated where I orginally was spat forth from my mother's loins, even way back when I still lived there. Things have since then become even more draconian and it doesn't look as if that's going to change for the better any time soon.
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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 15 Jan 2011, 15:48

sandman: Well, Taiwan is all the better for it. When you die, they're going to dip you in bronze and have you straddle the mouth of the Danshui River.
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man

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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby the chief » 15 Jan 2011, 17:10

GuyInTaiwan wrote:Canadians, such as the chief, are also seppos, even if they don't realise it and even if they do sew enormous Canadian flags on their backpacks.


Well, many thanks for the Kiwi perspective, FWIW.
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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 15 Jan 2011, 17:42

The Kiwis are okay. Just for future reference, if you want to upset me, call me British. :raspberry:
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man

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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby jimipresley » 15 Jan 2011, 17:45

GuyInTaiwan wrote:The Kiwis are okay. Just for future reference, if you want to upset me, call me British. :raspberry:

Haha! GIT's a POM! :roflmao:
You can live here and have a great life and not be the least bit into living the local life. Clowns will try to diss you for it saying you gotta get down with the program, but fuck em, treat this place like a buffet and yous be on a diet. Take what you want and nothing extra, slam those oysters, but leave the bread sticks and dinner rolls behind. - Deuce Dropper

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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 15 Jan 2011, 17:58

jimipresley wrote:
GuyInTaiwan wrote:The Kiwis are okay. Just for future reference, if you want to upset me, call me British. :raspberry:

Haha! GIT's a POM! :roflmao:


Just don't call me a South African kindy teacher. That would really be crossing the line!
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man

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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby CraigTPE » 16 Jan 2011, 06:34

BigJohn wrote:There was nothing wrong with his post, just people being dicks on forumosa, as usual.

That's how it came across to me, too.

How is the term "expat" offensive? It is what many of us are: One who has taken up residence in a foreign country. BFD.

I have a couple casual, anecdotal observations in response to the OP's question:

There are some remnants of police state activity here, like random traffic stops to check driving documents, but this applies to anyone driving a scooter, not just an expat. If you are teaching English at a cram school in Taipei, you can pretty much count on random visits (raids?) by immigration police to check for documents.

An expat/foreigner will likely find simple transactions (especially financial) more complicated than they would in their home country, but this may or may not be related to government regulations.

Someone previously mentioned a prohibition from participating in political activities. I'm not sure if there is any difference in the law with respect to whether you are in the crowd or on the stage, my company uses an employment contract with language suggested by the government which assures we are aware of a prohibition in any political activity.

Foreigners are treated differently here. Again, this is just my casual observation, but if there is any issue between a foreigner and a local, the foreigner generally comes out on the short end. (There are always exceptions.)
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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby headhonchoII » 16 Jan 2011, 19:32

sandman wrote:
I'd like to see sandman, steelersman and sulavaca chime in on this one

I do whatever I like here. Have done for 20 years or more. MANY of those things would not be tolerated where I orginally was spat forth from my mother's loins, even way back when I still lived there. Things have since then become even more draconian and it doesn't look as if that's going to change for the better any time soon.


Thats for sure...
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Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: What kind of rights for Taiwanese expats?

Postby Joschka » 17 Jan 2011, 12:55

the chief wrote:
TheAmericanNomad wrote:What kind of rights are afforded to Taiwanese expats?

I understand its a "free" country...


What's the deal on the quotes?
Is that some kind of implication?
Of exactly what?

TheAmericanNomad wrote: I am wondering how that applies to non citizens, could expats for an example, participate in political protests? What about organizing political protests?

Do rights increase the more "permanent" an expat is? Like if you get a PRAC or get married or whatever?

Not that I am planing any such thing, just curious.


Since they aren't allowed to vote, non-citizens are similarly forbidden from participating in any political activities.
I imagine that, if voting rights are afforded to PARC (not PRAC) holders (are they?), then the restriction would be lifted.

Oh, and just to fill you in, the term "expat" isn't really universally appreciated.


I've lived and traveled in all sorts of places and never before found someone who objected to 'expat.' It's short for expatriate and it means living outside your home country.

Do you object to this term? If so, why?
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Re: What are the rights for expats in Taiwan?

Postby tommy525 » 17 Jan 2011, 13:11

Feiren wrote:Let me try to explain.

Taiwan is unquestionably a free society for its citizens. In many ways, it feels much freer than the US because the police are far less omnipresent and less threatening and the people ignore a lot of the minor laws and rules that they don't like. Taiwan has freewheeling, completely uncensored media. It has open and reasonably fair elections in which two parties have regularly taken turns winning for most of the last 20 years. There is a large gay community that is left pretty much alone. There is no religious right. There is no homeland security or paranoia about terrorism. There are all kinds of activists who protest regularly about everything from the environment to credit card debt to homelessness. There is very, very little crime. People don't police political correctness.

That said though, Taiwan is still dealing with the hangover of a police state that ruled by martial law for 40 years. That state had lots of nasty ways for getting rid of foreigners it didn't like. The favored way was to hustle to them the airport and never allow them to come back. The rules allowing this are still on the books. That means that the police can arrest and deport any foreigner at any time for doing anything in Taiwan that does not comport with the purpose of their visit. The police decide what the purpose of your 'visit' (this even applies to people with permanent residence) and there is no review by an immigration court before you are deported. You can appeal to Taiwan's courts from overseas and I believe that many deportees could win, but this is expensive and would take time. I know of no one who has done so.

The result is that you can be deported by the police at any time arbitrarily. As you can imagine, that puts a bit of a crimp into the rights of foreigners here. This situation is unlikely to change because Taiwan has more than 400,000 migrant workers from SE Asia that employers and the police like to control this way.

That said, as a foreigner from a western country, it is very unlikely that you will be deported unless you commit a serious crime, get caught with drugs, or get HIV. Foreigners can and do participate in all kinds of legal protest and demonstrations (those with a permit). What you cannot do is speak on stage (not a good idea to get on stage, but people get away with it) at a political rally during an election. You also cannot be the sponsor (i.e.) the applicant of a demonstration. If you protest in a demonstration without a permit, nothing will happen about 90% of the time, the big exception being that if you get involved in labor or environmentalism activism and protest without a permit against the interests of one of Taiwan's big companies like Formosa Plastics or Foxconn, you will have a good chance of getting deported.

You should also be aware that as a legacy of martial law the police and security agencies tap hundreds of thousands of phones. They do need warrants, but the courts approve 99.999% of them and even if they don't, they can use the evidence from an illegal wiretap against you. The same goes for search warrants. This applies to Taiwanese as well as foreigners.

In sum, Taiwan is free in ways that the US is not. Its political system and society are free, but, in my opinion, it is not entirely ruled by law in the way Americans would understand that to mean. That leads to the very good advice that Cranky gave earlier in the thread.

Since Taiwan is not ruled entirely by law, the real question for foreigners is what the authorities will tolerate. They are pretty tolerant at the moment and that seems to be the long term trend.


Well written synopsis of the situation.
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