Travel to Taiwan
Many international students have waited for over a year to travel to Taiwan to begin their programmes. Source: Sam Yeh/AFP

Taiwan’s Ministry of Education is drafting a plan to allow international students to travel to Taiwan, in response to calls by student associations for clearer guidelines over their academic futures. It was reported that further details on how students can enter the country will be released by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan once their plan is approved by the Central Epidemic Command Centre (CECC).

The plan follows 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 can finally begin their programmes after waiting for a year. 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.

Ministry of Education in Taiwan

Current policies for travel to Taiwan are restrictive. Source: Sam Yeh/AFP

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 wrote. “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.”

They believe now is the right time for them to travel to Taiwan to begin their programme. “Mandarin students have already been waiting for so long, and the continuous uncertainty is still an issue and difficult to learn how to live with,” the open letter wrote. “All we want is to begin our studies once and for all, and the fall term would be the ideal time for us to enter the country.”

Ministry of Education in Taiwan

The Ministry of Education has submitted a plan detailing international students’ safe travel to Taiwan to the Central Epidemic Command Centre for approval. Source: Chen Chi-chuan/AFP

An estimated 11,500 students are set to enter the country this fall semester according to the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. Many are reportedly unable to begin their school on time, given the current lengthy entry procedures. These include having to apply for an array of documents, book flights and figure out living arrangements before their travel to Taiwan, plus a 14-day mandatory quarantine.