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Working in Taiwan as a creative professional part II: the Employment Gold Card for special professionals in culture and the arts

by Michael Fahey

This is the second of two FAQs on how creative professionals can live and work in Taiwan after the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals came into force in February 2018.

Part I focused on how to obtain a freelance artist work permit. Part II focuses on how to obtain an Employment Gold Card as a special professional in the field of culture and the arts. Click on the question to be taken to the answer, click back to return to the list of questions.

1. What is the difference between the freelance artist work permit and an Employment Gold Card for a special professional in the field of culture and the arts?

2. What kinds of special professionals in the field of culture and the arts are eligible to apply for an Employment Gold Card?

3. What does cultural administration mean?

4. Is there a minimum salary requirement for special professionals in culture and the arts?

5. What are the basic qualifications for performing arts?

6. What international arts organizations, key positions, international arts events, and awards does the Ministry of Culture recognize for performing arts?

7. What are the basic qualifications for visual arts?

8. What international arts organizations, key positions, art events, recognized awards and international arts events does the Ministry of Culture recognize for visual arts?

9. What are the basic qualifications for publishing?

10. What international media/publishers, academic awards and literary awards, and international publishing events does the Ministry of Culture recognize for publishing?

11. What are the basic qualifications for motion pictures/television/popular music?

12. What is a Category I Film Award?

13. What are the basic qualifications for crafts?

14. What crafts competitions or organizations are recognized?

15. What are the basic qualifications for cultural administration?

16. How do I show outstanding performance in arts and culture to be recognized as a special professional in cultural administration?

17. What international arts and culture NGOs qualify?

18. What if I don’t meet any of the basic qualifications for recognition as a special foreign profession in culture and the arts?

19. What if my application is rejected? Are there any other paths to working in Taiwan as a professional in culture and the arts?

20. What are the benefits of obtaining an Employment Gold Card as a special professional in arts and culture?

21. Will I be eligible to enrol in Taiwan’s national health insurance program?

22. How many special professionals in the field of arts and culture have received Employment Gold Cards?

23. How do I apply?

24. What kind of documentation should I submit to show my qualifications?

25. Does my documentation to be translated into Chinese?

26. How long does the application process take?

27. Who will review my application?

28. Can I renew my Employment Gold Card?

29. Can I become a permanent resident based on an Employment Gold Card?

30. Where can I read the law and regulations myself?

31. Who can I contact in the government if I have questions?

Special Professionals in Culture and the Arts FAQ

1. What is the difference between the freelance artist work permit and an Employment Gold Card for a special professional in the field of culture and the arts?

In general, the freelance artist work permit is for practicing artists. A special professional in the field of arts and culture could be an artist but more typically would be a professional with expertise in culture and the arts such as an event organizer, a NGO or government art administrator, or a literary agent. While there is some overlap, special professionals in culture and the arts encompass a broader range of professionals.

There are also some benefits to being a special professional that artists do not enjoy such as a possible income tax deduction and the ability to sponsor parents and grandparents for longer visitor visas. See Question 20 below.

An Employment Gold Card is also slightly more convenient because it combines a work permit, resident visa, and Alien Residence Certificate (ARC) on one card. As a result, the successful applicant does not need to make separate applications for a work permit, visa, and an ARC. In contrast, a freelance artist will need to make three separate applications.

2. What kinds of special professionals in the field of culture and the arts are eligible to apply for an Employment Gold Card?

Special professionals who work in the following fields are eligible:

(a) Performing Arts,

(b) Visual Arts,

(c) Publishing,

(d) Motion Pictures/Television/Popular Music,

(e) Crafts, and

(f) Cultural Administration

3. What does cultural administration mean?

Cultural administration means arts management or arts administration.

4. Is there a minimum salary requirement for special professionals in culture and the arts?

This has been the subject of some confusion. Unlike other kinds of special professionals, current or past salary is not a qualification for special professionals in culture and the arts. For example, one way that special professionals in finance or science and technology can qualify is to have or have had a monthly salary of at least NT$160,000. There is no equivalent salary qualification for being recognized as a special professional in culture and the arts.

5. What are the basic qualifications for performing arts?

(a) Membership in an international arts organization,

(b) Key position in government or a private organization related to culture or the arts,

(c) Key position at a leading arts or culture event,

(d) Recipient of recognized award,

(e) Judge on panel for recognized award, or

(f) Special approval by the Ministry of Culture.

6. What international arts organizations, key positions, international arts events, and awards does the Ministry of Culture recognize for performing arts?

The Ministry of Culture has listed examples here. These are non-exhaustive lists of examples. You can and should apply with similar organizations, positions, awards, or events. In general, alternatives will need to have a level of prestige and international recognition similar to those on the Ministry’s list of examples. Examples on the Ministry’s list include:

(a) American Theatre Wing (international arts organization),

(b) Manager (key position),

(c) Festival d’Avignon (international arts event)

(d) National Dance Award (award)

7. What are the basic qualifications for visual arts?

(a) Membership in an international arts organization,

(b) Key position in government or a private organization related to culture or the arts,

(c) Key position at a leading art event (such as major art exhibition or biennial),

(d) Recipient of recognized award,

(e) Judge on panel for recognized award, or

(f) Special approval by the Ministry of Culture.

8. What international arts organizations, key positions, art events, recognized awards and international arts events does the Ministry of Culture recognize for visual arts?

The Ministry of Culture has listed examples here. These are non-exhaustive lists of examples. You can and should apply based on similar organizations, positions, awards, or events. In general, alternatives will need to have a level of prestige and international recognition similar to those on the Ministry’s list of examples. Examples on the Ministry’s list include:

(a) National Endowment for the Arts (international arts organization),

(b) Director (key position),

(c) Art Taipei (event), or

(d) New York Arts Directors Club Annual Awards.

9. What are the basic qualifications for publishing?

(a) High level position at major international media company or publisher,

(b) Literary agent with at least 10 years of experience in publishing or mass media,

(c) PhD in publishing and an international academic award,

(d) National or international literary prize,

(e) Curator for major international publishing event, or

(f) Special approval by the Ministry of Culture.

10. What international media/publishers, academic awards and literary awards, and international publishing events does the Ministry of Culture recognize for publishing?

The Ministry of Culture has listed examples here. These are non-exhaustive lists of examples. You can and should apply based on other publishers, media, positions, awards, or events. In general, these alternatives will need to have a level of prestige and international recognition similar to those on the Ministry’s list of examples.

Please see Academia Sinica’s list of international academic research awards for awards recognized for purpose of qualification 9(c) PhD in publishing and international academic award. Examples on the Ministry’s list include:

(a) The Financial Times (media),

(b) Random House (publisher).

(c) Managing editor (key position), or

(d) Man Booker Prize (literary award).

11. What are the basic qualifications for motion pictures/television/popular music?

(a) Nominated for or received Category I Film Award,

(b) Nominated for or received Grammy or BRIT Award,

(c) Nominated for or received international television award such as Emmy, BAFTA, or Seoul Drama Award, or

(d) Special approval by the Ministry of Culture.

12. What is a Category I Film Award?

The Category I Film awards are:

(a) Cannes International Film Festival,

(b) Venice International Film Festival,

(c) Berlin International Film Festival, or

(d) Academy Awards.

13. What are the basic qualifications for crafts?

(a) Award in national or internationally recognized crafts competition,

(b) Recognized as a Living National Treasure by a recognized Taiwanese or international organization, or

(c) Special approval by the Ministry of Culture.

14. What crafts competitions or organizations are recognized?

The Ministry of Culture has listed examples here. The key point is that this is a non-exhaustive list of examples. You can and should try to have other awards or organizations recognized by the Ministry. In general, these will need to have a level of prestige and international recognition similar to those on the Ministry’s list of examples. Examples on the Ministry’s list include:

(a) Faenza Prize (competition award),

(b) The World Crafts Council (organization), or

(c) International Ceramics Competition Mino, Japan.

15. What are the basic qualifications for cultural administration?

(a) Position in a government department of arts and culture and evidence of outstanding performance in work related to arts and culture while holding the position,

(b) Expert or research position at a registered culture and the arts organization and evidence of outstanding performance in work related to arts and culture while holding the position,

(c) Position at an international arts and culture NGO involving arts and culture and evidence of outstanding performance in work related to arts and culture while holding the position, or

(d) Special approval by the Ministry of Culture.

16. How do I show outstanding performance in arts and culture to be recognized as a special professional in cultural administration?

Submit a letter of recommendation from the department, organization, or NGO.

17. What international arts and culture NGOs qualify?

See the list of UNESCO partnership NGOs here.

18. What if I don’t meet any of the basic qualifications for recognition as a special foreign profession in culture and the arts?

You can apply under the catch-all “Special approval by the Ministry of Culture” in each of six categories of special professionals in culture and the arts. This is to cover professionals in these fields who have other qualifications. Indicate on your application that you want the reviewing agencies to consult with the Ministry of Culture. See Question 27.

19. What if my application is rejected? Are there any other paths to working in Taiwan as a professional in culture and the arts?

Yes. If you are a practicing artist you may be able to qualify for the freelance artist work permit. Please see Part I of this FAQ. Otherwise you will need to find a qualified employer to hire you for Class A specialized (professional) or technical work if your background is in media, film, television, or arts management. If you are a practicing artist, a qualified employer can apply for a Class F artist work permit on your behalf. Please check the Workforce Development Agency’s EZ Work website for information on the requirements.

20. What are the benefits of obtaining an Employment Gold Card as a special professional in arts and culture?

(a) Ability to work in your field independently or change employers if you applied for the Employment Gold Card yourself rather than having an employer apply on your behalf,

(b) 50% deferrable income tax deduction on annual income over NT$3 million for first three years in Taiwan, and

(c) Ability to sponsor parents and grandparents for visits of up to one year.

Please see the Regulations Governing Reduction and Exemption of Income Tax of Foreign Special Professionals §3 for details of eligibility for the deferrable income tax deduction.

21. Will I be eligible to enrol in Taiwan’s national health insurance program?

Yes, but you will meet a six month residence period first if you do not have an employer. To meet the residence requirement, you must be physically present in Taiwan for a total of six months although you may make one trip abroad for no more than 30 days. The time spent abroad does not count toward the six months residence requirement.  If you are hired by an employer, you are immediately eligible for health insurance.

22. How many special professionals in the field of arts and culture have received Employment Gold Cards?

As of this writing, no Employment Gold Cards have been issued to special professionals in the field of Arts and Culture.

23. How do I apply?

You or your employer must apply online through the National Immigration Agency’s Employment Gold Card platform.

24. What kind of documentation should I submit to show my qualifications?

Please see the various documentary requirements here.

25. Does my documentation need to be translated into Chinese?

English language documents do not need to be translated. Documents in languages other than English or Chinese need to be translated into English or Chinese.

26. How long does the application process take?

The application review period is 30 days although this can be extended if more documents are required. In practice, it currently takes most applicants 2-3 months.

27. Who will review my application?

Applications are reviewed by the National Immigration Agency, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In special cases, these reviewing agencies may consult with the Ministry of Culture.

28. Can I renew my Employment Gold Card?

Technically no. However, you can apply for a new Employment Gold Card before the current one expires. Your qualifications will be reviewed again.

29. Can I become a permanent resident based on an Employment Gold Card?

Yes. Currently you will become eligible to apply for permanent residence after five years of continuous residence based on a series of Employment Gold Cards. You must be present in Taiwan for at least 183 days each year. Your spouse and minor children will become eligible for permanent residence five years after you become a permanent resident if they meet the foregoing residence requirement.

30. Where can I read the law and regulations myself?

You can read the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals here. The articles that apply specifically to special foreign professionals are §4(2), §§7-9, and §13. You can read the basic qualifications for special professionals in culture and the arts here. Documentation requirements are here. The National Immigration Agency also has a helpful FAQ.

31. Who can I contact in the government if I have questions?

The current designated contact at the Ministry of Culture for a special professional in culture and the arts is:

(a) Ms.Chen Yu-qi (陳鈺淇): (02)8512-6772 for questions about qualifications.

The current designated contacts at the National Immigration Agency for Employment Gold Cards are:

(a) Mr. Yang Ying-cong (楊英聰): (02)2388-9393 #2558

(b) Ms. You Rui-zhu (游瑞珠): (02)2388-9393 #2403

The current designated contact at the Ministry of Labor for Employment Gold Cards is:

(a) Mr. Zhang Wei-zhao  (張維釗): (02)2380-1720

The current designated contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Employment Gold Cards is:

(b) Ms. Zhang Jia-hong (張嘉紘): (02)2343-2901

Please check this list of contact windows on the official website for the Act for the Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals. The list also has email addresses.

 

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