That yearly post…

Well, I don’t give this blog as much time and attention as I should, but I figured I should throw up an update, since what can go wrong, it’s 2020 and the world seems to try to implode on itself.

Ended up spending nearly 5.5 months in Sweden this year, as I went to Europe for some business and then decided to help out my parents for a couple of months, which ended up being a lot longer due to the lack of flights, courtesy of the Wuhan virus.

My old man also kicked the bucket during this time, so in a way it was good timing, or I wouldn’t have made it back. I guess I’m weird, but it many ways I finally feel liberated and free. Maybe it’s not the feelings you should be having, but not all of us have the same relationships with our parents.

On the plus side, I manged to swap out my British license to a Swedish one, as the British one is not likely to be very useful after Brexit. A lot of things back home when it comes to dealing with government paperwork is so different these days compared to when I left Sweden almost 22 years ago. These days, if you don’t have BankID, it’s almost impossible to do anything that involves government agencies in Sweden and you can’t even shop online from many e-tailers, without it. It’s really quite bizarre that this power has been given to the banks in Sweden.

At least I have one of those now, but I need to renew it in three years time, which is about the same time I need a new passport, so if not before then, I have to go back to Sweden for that. It’s kind of frustrating getting a passport with only five years validity when you live abroad and there’s nowhere locally that you can get one. This doesn’t take into account that it costs five times as much to get one abroad (including the postage costs) and for me it would involve flying to another country to have one made anyhow. It’s the little things…

At least I managed to avoid catching the virus in Sweden, but it also mean that it was a fairly boring 5.5 months, as there was only so much one could do. At least I got to eat a lot of food that I’ve been missing and I cooked up about three months worth of meals for my step mum so she’d have something easy to eat once I left, as she’s not really cooking like she once used to do.

A lot of plans didn’t happen this year and might not even happen next year, but life goes on. Until next time…

Three years have flown past…

Yes, I’m still around if you’re wondering. I try to keep things up to date in terms of information on the site, although I’m no longer write restaurant reviews here, they go on Google maps these days. That said, I’ve updated the reviews I have written here with current information, as at least a few of the places I’ve reviewed here are still around. I might add more reviews in the future, who knows…

It would seem that the site is as popular as ever, which is quite surprising to me, as I don’t really update it very often. It would seem the content is useful to those of you that are planning to, or recently have moved to Taiwan though and I have no plans on getting rid of any of the content.

Until next time…

And I’m back…

Well, things didn’t work as planned and I’m back in Taiwan since a couple of months ago. It’s good to be back and things are looking up in terms of work for a change.

I guess it’s time to update things here a bit, but I’m quite swamped with work at the moment. The site has been moved to a new host, so let’s hope there are no hiccups with that. Until next time, whenever that may be…

The Fu Bar at Fulong beach

It’s quite surprising what you can find on this island and one of the better places to eat here – at least if you’re into grilled meats – is the Fu Bar at Fulong beach. The Fu Bar is owned by a South African couple which happens to be friends of ours and they offer a wide range of “exotic” food, at least to the Taiwanese pallet.

The main options includes a large selection of grilled meats off the barbecue – including home made boerewors – all of which is flavours by special marinades and spice mixes made by the owner. They also serve toasted pitas with various fillings ranging from meat to vegetarian options. All the meals come with a side salad and some also come with mieliepap which is a corn based dish somewhat similar to mashed potatoes in texture. They also offer a selection of drinks and apparently also dessert, something we’ve missed on our half dozen or so visits last year.

The Fu Bar is located right next to a large car park, a play ground and less than two minutes walk form the beach, which is in fact very good by Taiwanese standards. The Fu Bar is at the far end of the beach, so there’s no need to pay to access the beach. Just make sure you bring some suitable foot wear, as the sand gets very hot and the first time I burnt myself so badly I got blisters as I din’t bring any flip flops.

For more information we suggest you hit up the Fu Bar website

Update: The Fu Bar has changed owner and is now known as the Scubar. I have not visited since the new owners took over.

How to get or renew your work permit and ARC on your own

One of the things with living in Taiwan as a foreigner is that you need to have a valid work permit to work here and to be able to apply for an ARC or Alien Resident Card.

For most people, the company you work for will do this for you, but not all companies do this and if you’re running your own business, you’re either going to have to do it on your own, or have an accountant do it for you, usually at several times the actual cost.

The whole process is a bit of a mess though and takes a fair bit of running around, especially if you like me, haven’t done it before. There are a few things you need to prepare, such as copies of your passport (and ARC if you have one), your chops, a letter of employment stating your salary, hire date and termination date, tax records (which I’ll go into a bit more detail about shortly) and in the case of you having your own business, some paperwork that proves that you’re in Taiwan for serious business reasons such as a calendar with appointments and a few select emails (all stamped with your chops). You need to bring this with you to the Workforce Development Agency located here (it’s in the same building as the Thaisugar Hotel, just slightly in the back and on the 10th floor and up) if you live in Taipei City. On a side-note, this is also where you go and apply for your open work permit once you get an APRC. There’s a NT$500 fee for the work permit (NT$250 for the open work permit, but you need a photo for this one), which also have to be paid at the time of the application. Normally you’d get a two year work permit, although one and three years is also possible, as it depends on your contract and ARC.

For Taipei City residents you need to go to the main tax office in Taipei which is located here to get the tax papers you need. Sadly I can’t tell you what you need, but the staff at the Workforce Development Agency will be able to inform you as to the specific documents you need to submit. Just be aware that if you’ve ever stayed in Taiwan for more than 90 days in a single year over the past seven years without filing for taxes, you might end up running into some problems, as the tax office will check your entry and exit records to the country.

Once you’ve submitted enough documentation to the Bureau of Employment and Vocational Training it should take no more than 7-10 days for you to get your work permit. Once you’ve collected your work permit (or had it sent to you) you need to visit the National Immigration Agency which is located here. Here you need to fill in a form and once again bring copies of your passport, a letter of employment, as well as any pre-existing ARC, which they will keep at this point. The cost is NT$1,000 per year for the ARC, so if you have a two year work permit and want a two year ARC, you have to bring NT$2,000. As a side note, if you’re applying for an APRC the cost is NT$10,000. Normally it takes about two weeks for the ARC to be processed, so keep this in mind if you have to leave the country, although it’s possible to get a piece of paper from the National Immigration Agency that will get you back into the country again. You can also get a paper here in case you need to get a bank account, cellular phone, etc. with a number and a great big stamp that works as a temporary ARC.

If you want to take the easy route, or are looking at setting up a business in Taiwan, I’d recommend JusRegal or D&C CPA & Associates. Both are local accountants located in central Taipei and I have used both as my accountants. They have some English speaking staff, as well as English websites, however, sometimes there are language barriers that can complicate things. I currently use the latter and have been doing so for a few years. They charge a bit more than JusRegal, but are also more professional.

Hopefully this is of some use and once you know what you need to supply the Workforce Development Agency, it’s really not that hard to renew your work permit on your own. That said, if you live outside of Taipei City, or have your business registered outside of Taipei City, you’re going to have to find your local equivalent, which could be located quite far from where you live and work.

This post was updated on the 24th of July 2016