While Taiwan is a fairly free country when it comes to regulations (or the lack thereof) and its enforcement, dealing with the government isn't much different from the socialist European Union.
Like elsewhere, there are no incentives for the government to provide quality public services because of the lack of private ownership.
In other words, governments don't treat citizens as customers because they will get paid (steal your taxes) regardless of the "service" they "provide" (or don't).
At the beginning of January, I started an offshore company in Hong Kong - Freedom Node Limited.
It was meant to be a way to get an ARC in Taiwan to make my life slightly easier. Something, that a significant amount of foreigners do here to settle down.
While my company doesn't generate any profit (in Taiwan), I'd still have to employ myself in Taiwan and pay tax. A minimum wage for foreigners is currently at NT$44 000 per month (~$1 500) which falls into the lowest tax bracket of 5%.
While the annual tax that I would pay would only be NT$26 400 (~$880), it's roughly what most Taiwanese people pay since their median salary is about the same.
On top of that, I'd have to pay NT$2 500 (~$80) each month for a mandatory government health insurance and some fees for the application process. I'd also have to get a business address which cost me NT$28 000 ($935) annually.
A win-win situation for both the government and me, right?
Let me tell you my story
I got my business address (and a tax statement from the owner of the building), a company and a personal seal (LOL what is this a Soviet Russia?), paid for the Power of Attorney (it was the most expensive stamp on a piece of paper I've ever got) and filled out the first two forms (that were made 20 years ago and are completely broken on Mac) with the help of my lovely girlfriend to register my Hong Kong company in Taiwan.
Two weeks or so later I got the first response from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (in Chinese of course).
Apparently, they didn't like the apostrophe spacing in my company's address because their form was created before Jesus Christ was even born, thus broken.
Also, each form was supposed to be sent twice (nobody tells you upfront) and my passport copy had to state an address of residence (WTF? I'm trying to finish this thing to get a residency card so how can I provide you with my residence??? I don't have any!).
Whatever, I fixed the forms, send two copies each and provided the government with a temporary address.
A week or so later the same office sent me another letter.
My application couldn't be accepted (what a surprise) because all the fields were supposed to be in Chinese (why didn't you fucking tell me the first time?). The funny thing is, the form is translated into English and only certain fields specifically require Chinese translation.
Whatever #2, I translated every single field into Chinese (again with the help of my sweetheart), made 2 copies of each form, made two passport copies (just to be sure) with the temporary address and sent it back to the MoEA.
Two weeks or so later I got another letter. The government declined my application because "I ran out of the 30 days limit" and I had to re-apply all over again (including the Power of Attorney).
Well, fuck you!
I wasted a month of my time and around NT$60 000 (~$2 000) just to be declined for bullshit reasons?
I understand that I didn't bring much money to the table (though just my monthly expenses have recently become higher than the median income in Taiwan).
BUT I wouldn't need anything from Taiwan either.
I wouldn't "take any job from locals", I don't need any pension nor I would have used the socialized health care since I prefer a private insurance anyway.
It's fair to say that I would have been a net benefit for Taiwan since the government would get more money from me and wouldn't have to babysit me.
I would get a self-provided job (and pay tax), I'd get a big motorcycle (and pay tax), heck maybe I'd even buy an apartment (and pay tax).
Now, the only tax they see from me is my beer tax since I don't work here. Not even as an illegal English teacher which is very popular among many.
I'm not playing your dumb games
I've had enough with governments (I also had tons of "fun" in Slovakia when I was leaving the country).
At the core level, they're all the same: inefficient, time-wasting (money-wasting too), annoying and outright malicious.
Tell me again about how you want to attract foreigners. Perhaps you're only interested in these ones?
Don't get me wrong, I love Taiwan!
People have been nothing but nice to me (though there is a lot of crazy happening here), it's a beautiful country and I want to stay here for as long as possible.
But like everywhere else it's the government that makes things unnecessarily difficult and unpleasant (and not just for me but also for big foreign businesses such as Uber which got recently banned and then unbanned under "certain conditions").
On the other hand, I have to thank the Taiwanese bureaucrats for teaching me a valuable lesson!
I realized that I will never deal with you or any other government for that matter unless I'm forced by a threat of violence (or unless I'm forced by my girlfriend to marry her :) ).
Hope you enjoy my beer money.
P.S. to be fair, the Taiwanese government made it fairly easy for (white) foreigners to stay in the country without an ARC, so props to you. Taiwan is still the freest country I've ever seen and way better place to live than the EUSSR (European Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) in almost every way.
Also, let me know what you think in the comments section below.