Tue, Jan 06, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Overseas compatriots have to leave upon graduation

By Flora Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Education has canceled the one-year grace period allowing “overseas compatriot students” to stay in the country for a year after graduation, the ministry's Overseas Compatriot Educational Committee said yesterday.

Overseas compatriot students refer to people of Chinese ethnicity who were born and lived overseas, or to Taiwanese nationals who had resided overseas for more than six consecutive years until their return to Taiwan for studies.

The committee issued a press release yesterday afternoon, saying the ministry had approved an amendment to its Regulations for Studying and Counseling Assistance for Overseas Compatriot Students in Taiwan (僑生回國就學及輔導辦法) on Dec. 25 and canceled the one-year grace period to prevent the regulation from contradicting the Immigration Act (入出國移民法).

The amendment also states that these students cannot apply for residency in Taiwan unless they have worked in their country of residence for at least two years.

The changes, however, now allow overseas compatriot students to apply directly for graduate studies in Taiwan after finishing college, dropping the requirement that they have to leave Taiwan for at least two years.

The amendment also bans overseas compatriots from applying for study in Taiwan's cram schools, open universities or any other programs that are only taught on weekends or holidays.

Graduates who were found to have violated the regulation would have their diplomas revoked, the committee said.

The amended regulations also require that overseas compatriots under 18 years of age who wish to enroll in Taiwan's high schools, junior high schools or primary schools be endorsed by a Taiwanese guardian, who must present an affidavit of support of at least NT$500,000 (US$15,000).

Separately, Vice Minister of Education Chou Tsan-der (周燦德) told the legislature's Education and Culture Committee that the ministry had drafted measures to assist and prevent students participating in work and educational programs from dropping out of school amid a sluggish economy.

Students in the programs — estimated at 30,000 — are usually assigned to different businesses for paid field experience.

However, as the nation suffers under the global financial storm, about 20,000 of the students may lose their jobs, forcing them to drop out of school, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆) said.

Chou said about 500 students had expressed their intention to drop out of school.

Chou said the ministry had asked the schools to halve the students' tuition, adding that the ministry would subsidize about a quarter of their tuition.

“We told the schools that the schools would lose tuition if the students dropped out. It would be good for the schools to keep the students on campus and share the students' burden,” Chou said.

Chou said the ministry would also grant subsidies to businesses that are willing to retain the students.

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