Taiwan planning to allow return of 11,500 international students

China | 5 Aug 2021 9:53 am

Taiwan's Ministry of Education said it is drafting a plan that will allow international students enrolled in Taiwanese schools to enter the country, as those without resident permits are  barred, CNA reports.

Taiwan tightened its border restrictions on May 19 after the a domestic resurgence of the coronavirus. Since then, only Taiwanese nationals and foreign nationals with resident permits have been allowed in, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis for emergencies and on humanitarian grounds.

With a new school semester starting in September, the MOE said Wednesday that it is drafting a plan to allow students without residency to come to Taiwan.

After the plan is approved by the Central Epidemic Command Center, the MOE will inform students how they can enter the country and what types of disease prevention measures they will be required to take.

According to the MOE, students who are enrolled to study in Taiwan for over a year typically apply for residency, though new students are unable to file an application until they come to Taiwan.

About 11,500 newly-enrolled international students are scheduled to come to Taiwan this fall semester, the MOE said.

The MOE statement came after student associations recently condemned its tardiness in informing international students when and how they can come to Taiwan.

In a Facebook post on Monday, the Hong Kong Student In Taiwan Mutual Association said that they contacted the MOE in June to inquire about entry rules regarding international students, but the ministry has still not released a comprehensive plan on the matter.

"We can understand if plans are changed or canceled (due to the pandemic), but we cannot accept that there have been no guidelines at all," the association said in a separate post Wednesday.

Students have to apply for an array of documents, book flights and figure out living arrangements before coming to Taiwan, and factoring in the 14-day mandatory quarantine, there is little chance that students, especially those who are newly-enrolled in Taiwanese schools, will be able to begin school on time, the association said.

"We are not asking the Taiwanese government to ignore the pandemic, but we need clear and practical guidelines on how we can enter the country," the association said.

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