At Work

What do I need to tell my employer about the Gold Card?

Your Gold Card is a four-in-one document that contains your work permit, residence visa, reentry permit and Alien Residence Certificate. You have open work rights and they do not need to apply for a work permit or visa for you.

What happens if I lose my job?

You may simply find a new job. Your Gold Card is not sponsored by your employer and will not be affected by a change of job.

Can I setup a company and employ myself?

Yes. With a Gold Card you are able to setup a Taiwanese limited liability company as a sole foreign investor without any minimum capital requirement, and you can employ yourself in that company since you already have a work permit through the Gold Card. You are also able to setup and employ yourself through a representative office if you just intend to represent a foreign company.

Can I be self-employed?

Yes. If you don’t work for an employer and don’t setup a company in Taiwan you can still be self-employed (either abroad or in Taiwan) while you have a Gold Card.

Does the Gold Card provide an open work permit?

Yes. You may work for any organisation (or many organisations at the same time) in any industry, in any job, provided it doesn’t have licensing requirements that you don’t meet.

Is there a minimum salary requirement for Gold Card holders?

Yes. It is one of:

  • NT$23,800 a month, or NT$158 per hour for “workers” (Labor Standards Act Article 21)
  • NT$47,971 a month for those performing “specialised or technical work”

Despite many applicants qualifying for a gold card on the basis of previous employment with salary of greater than NT$160,000, this is not a minimum salary requirement. However, those applying under this category will have their financial data reviewed by the Ministry of Labor. The regulations allow the Ministry of Labor to revoke a work permit if they are not satisfied with the results of this review.

Can I work for multiple companies at the same time?

Yes.

What is salary withholding tax? At what rate should my salary be withheld?

In May each year you pay income tax on your earnings from the previous year. To smooth out your payments (and when the government receives money) a little, the Taiwanese tax system is designed so that your employer effectively pre-pays a little bit of your tax. To do that, they “withhold” a percentage of your salary payment each time you get paid and remit it to the government a few times a year. The tax you pay in May will be reduced by this amount.

There are two common amounts you will see for salary withholding tax: 18% and 5%. For tax residents of Taiwan, employers should withhold 5% and non-tax-residents 18%. However, some companies work on the assumption that all foreign residents have a danger of leaving Taiwan each year before they achieve tax residency (i.e. less than 183 days). These types of companies typically withhold 18% from January to June, and 5% for the rest of the year, which protects the company from owing additional tax to the government if the employee leaves.

Which withholding rate you are charged is not a large issue, as it directly contributes to your income tax payment. If you’ve been charged too much, you will receive a refund from the government once you file your income tax. However, it is always worth talking with your employer to explain your circumstances and that you plan to reside in Taiwan long-term.

Can I just not work at all?

Here’s what we know:

  • A gold card holder needs to do the things expected of talented professionals (i.e. work) during the term of their first card in order to qualify for a second card. (Source: NIA Gold Card Information Meeting, 2018)
  • If qualifying under one of the the ‘salary’ criteria, the MoL will review your financial data (basically, your yearly tax return). If you do not pass the review, your work permit can be cancelled. (Source: Application Portal)

It is rumoured that the primary usage of this cancellation clause will be to weed out people who have applied under false pretences. The warning’s prominent appearance during the application process sends a clear message.

However, recall that gold card holders may enter Taiwan without having a job at all. It’s entirely reasonable that a new immigrant would take some time to establish their network and find employment. Six-month job seeking visas are available, so that’s a tacit acknowledgement by the government that it does take some time.

The rules of administrative procedure in Taiwan require ‘fairness’ in their execution. Would it be ‘fair’ to cancel the work permit of a highly qualified individual who has taken six months to find a job, when others meeting lesser qualifications are given that time? Certainly not.

What about taking a break? Here, the length and circumstances of the break should probably be taken into account. Between jobs, or just feeling burned out and need a few months? Surely OK. However, if someone’s primary stated intention of gaining residence in Taiwan was employment (gold card), and they did not gain employment for, say, more than two years, does that stated intention still hold up? Maybe not. Or maybe the relevant authorities will consider losing the ability to qualify for a second gold card sufficient motivation.

Keep in mind: there is some precedent for your visa going away if the underlying purpose for your residence in Taiwan no longer applies. Students who don’t turn up to class have sometimes found this out the hard way.

If you are in a situation where you think your circumstances might put you in jeopardy, the gold card contacts list has a range of helpful people.

Last Updated: October 12, 2020