Sun, Nov 20, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Some foreigners may be illegal due to ignorance: CLA

MISUNDERSTANDINGA labor official said that foreign English teachers may run into problems if they don't understand relevant work regulations

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Many foreign English teachers may be working illegally in Taiwan because they do not fully understand Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) work-permit regulations, according to a council official.

CLA secretariat section chief Hsieh Chien-chien (謝倩蒨) said that for a cram school or kindergarten to hire a foreign teacher, the boss or principal of the school must first register with the council, stating how many foreign teachers they plan to hire and each teacher's duration of employment.

After the application procedure is completed, the council will issue recruitment permits, she said.

"Many cram school principals are too lazy to [register their teachers]. Therefore, foreign English teachers end up working for a school without a work permit for that particular school," Hsieh said. "Foreign teachers often do not know [about the CLA's regulations] and end up working illegally."

Hsieh added that many English teachers have tried registering at the council themselves but, according to the regulations, their bosses are required to apply on their behalf.

A letter written by foreign English teachers published in the Taipei Times last week described a "massive crackdown and deportation of English teachers in the country."

The reason for the deportations stated in the letter was that the government suspected these teachers of substitute-teaching at cram schools or kindergartens that were not listed on their work permits.

The illegal teachers, who were identified during a spate of spot inspections, each received a letter from the CLA demanding that they leave the country within 14 days or face deportation.

The teachers involved wish to remain anonymous since many of them are appealing their cases at the Legislative Yuan.

Hsieh said that having one work permit does not entitle someone to work for multiple employers.

"Some foreigners are confused because they might think they can work at different cram schools on one permit, but in truth they cannot," she said.

Inspections or "crackdowns" on cram schools and kindergartens are conducted periodically by the education department in each city or county.

However, the social education section of the Department of Education in Taipei said that they were unaware of any recent "massive crackdowns" on foreign English teachers.

According to officials, inspections take place either periodically at random or after a certain cram school is reported for employing foreign teachers illegally.

The department follows the rules set by the CLA regarding foreign teachers, officials said.

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