Education Minister Says 13,000 International Students Will Be Allowed to Enter Taiwan Before Fall Semester

Around 13,000 international students without a residence permit expected to pursue a degree in Taiwan, as well as students enrolled in Chinese-language scholarship programs will be allowed to enter the country before September, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung said at a news conference.

Pan added that Taiwan will not grant visas to exchange students or those involved in short-term language classes, reports.

He noted that the ministry’s plans about international students received approval at a meeting of the government’s agencies held last week. During that meeting, the main focus was on the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The most comprehensive disease prevention measures and border control regulations will be implemented when international students enter the nation,” he said.

According to him, there are some important bodies that must be involved in the process when international students gradually enter the country, including the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Immigration Agency, and the Mainland Affairs Council.

Pan also informed that the Ministry of Education has already created a program to assist students unable to enter Taiwan due to the pandemic situation in their home countries, adding that the latter will have the opportunity to pursue studies remotely.

On May 19, Taiwan imposed a harsh border policy after a rise in Coronavirus cases in the country. As a result, only Taiwan’s nationals, as well as those with residence permits, were permitted to enter the country. People arriving in the country for humanitarian or healthcare reasons were also exempted from restrictions.

Earlier in August, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said it is working on the plan to permit international students without residence permits expected to pursue studies at Taiwanese education institutions to enter the country as the new term approaches.

Following the news, the Hong Kong Student In Taiwan Mutual Association said that they had contactedMOE in June to ask for information about entry rules applying to international students, but the ministry did not come up with a plan in this regard.

“We can understand if plans are changed or cancelled (due to the pandemic), but we cannot accept that there have been no guidelines at all,” the Association pointed out, adding that they only need clear guidelines about entry rules.

Pan said that students will enter Taiwan in cohorts, and once the first cohort successfully arrives, the ministry will consider allowing exchange students and other categories of international students to enter the country as well.

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