I am sending the following as a mass email to you all as many of you have been asking about what has been happening to me recently. Some of you know the details, some of you know the back story.
Here is what has been happening and the potential consequences.
On February 17th I was apprehended covering a class in a school which was not officially listed on my work visa.
A group of government inspectors including members of the Labour Affairs Bureau, Immigration Office and Police Force came to the school following an official letter of complaint they had received.
After a recorded interview at the school, which was conducted in Chinese I was requested to sign a document, written entirely in Chinese. None of the officials were willing to translate for me and when someone did try to assist they were told to stop interfering.
I later discovered that this document was an admission to having been caught illegally teaching.
I then went to the Immigration Office to give a formal statement. Again, all the questions were in Chinese, and although there was an English translator present, the friend who accompanied me often had to intervene as my responses where not being translated accurately.
No one could or would give me any time frame as to what the legal proceedings would be, who I could appeal to, who would be contacting me or when I might be asked to attend a hearing. All I was told was that I would be deported and blacklisted from teaching in Taiwan in the future.
I sought advice from many friends and agencies both in Taiwan and in England.
Today - March 23rd - I attended what might be seen as an arbitration meeting between the different agencies.
There are many difficulties in my case, as I was voluntarily working at the school for that day, receiving no pay. The school officials did not know about my presence there. (This is a very common practice in Taiwan).
Some months earlier I had visited the school to submit my CV form, as the school was advertising for new staff. One of the requirements was to possess and APRC - which is a permanent residency visa. I am currently in the process of applying for mine. I wanted the school to be aware of me as a potential future teacher once all my paperwork had been cleared. My personal details were stored on one of the office computers.
The school was experiencing a lot of difficulties with three of its staff. They had all been denied contract renewals due to poor performance and unprofessional behaviour. They were very bitter towards the school and had been seeking ways to retaliate for some time. I was unaware of this at the time.
The day I visited the office, one of them was present. Two days later, an official letter of complaint was sent containing all of my personal details to various authorities, informing them that I was being illegally employed. Again, I knew nothing of this.
In February I was requested to help supervise a class at the school as they were facing an emergency. The teacher who should have been working could not come in. I later learnt that this teacher was close friends with the three other teachers.
So the one day that I was assisting in a classroom, two and a half months after the authorities were sent this letter, I was apprehended.
Naturally there is no absolute proof (yet) that any of the above were involved, but the coincidences are overwhelming.
This, also then, is affecting whether or not I will be being deported.
Following today's meeting, the Labour Affairs Office will be filing a report to Taipei giving their recommendations. And then Taipei will make a formal decision. There is no set time frame for any of this.
All of this, as you can imagine, has been highly stressful for myself and all those who I love. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of support I have received from so many people, in so many different walks of life. I have met more politicians and legal advisers in the past week than I ever thought possible.
I would like to thank everybody who has helped me so far - I am deeply touched and very much humbled.
I would also like to warn anyone teaching in Taiwan that there are some very, very, malicious, vindictive and self-serving individuals living and working amongst us who care for no-one but themselves. I hope that you do not have the misfortune of becoming their sacrificial goats in the way that they would have me be.
So, fingers crossed - I may or may not be here in six months time.
I will keep anyone posted who wants to find out what happens next.
With much love to all of you,
Ok, I and you know she should never have signed anything. I don't want to get into that.
Basically, she was caught working at a school that wasn't listed on her ARC. A big no-no (like the kindy thing that we have argued ad neauseum, and although people here always think we can get away with it, here is an instance where someone has not).
However, in her favour, she was volunteering and didn't get paid. However, I'm thinking this won't make a difference, as you aren't allowed to volunteer either. However, I didn't want to tell her this.
Personally, I think the situation is grim and she will be fined and deported. Sad, but true. But, to those who know the law and this situation better, is there anything she can do? Is there a way out of this for this girl. She is an awesome person, and it would be a pity if she was booted from the island. She really is one of the good ones.
Any constructive advice? Is there anyone who can help her, at Eiger Law or elsewhere? Please advise.