Here’s some welcome news in Taiwan for aspiring international students. According to local reports, Taiwan is expected to grant some 13,000 visas to international students ahead of the upcoming semester.
The Taipei Times reported that Taiwan Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung said the visas will be granted for those enrolled for a degree and Chinese-language scholarship programmes, but not exchange students or those in short-term language classes.
The ministry’s plans for international students were approved last week at a meeting of government agencies. “The most comprehensive disease prevention measures and border control regulations will be implemented when international students enter the nation,” Pan was quoted saying.
This announcement comes after the recent news in Taiwan that the education ministry was drafting a plan to allow international students to travel back to the island. This is in response to calls by student associations for clearer guidelines over their academic futures and an open letter from Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES) students, as well as non-scholarship Mandarin students who have registered to study in the country.
They were told in April that they would be able to begin their programmes after a long year’s wait. As the number of COVID-19 cases surged, Taiwan imposed a ban on foreign travellers in May, followed by a pause in the processing of visas as the country rose to Level 3 of the pandemic alert.
When cases decreased, international students asked for the government to “prioritise Huayu Enrichment Scholarship students so we can begin our studies this fall, alongside the degree students,” the open letter by the Taiwan International Student Movement read. “We would also like to ask the Ministry of Education in Taiwan to start reviewing the possibility for non-scholarship students to be able to study in the country again.”
Pan said the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Immigration Agency and the Mainland Affairs Council would be involved in the process. Their respective schools would inform eligible international students.
He added that the ministry had established a special programme to care for international students who cannot travel to the country due to COVID-19 outbreaks in their home country. The news in Taiwan stated affected students would receive help from a task force established by the ministry, while online learning would also be available. He said that other measures implemented last year that would enable students to defer enrollment or extend their student visa due to pandemic-related concerns would continue.