Wed, Jan 12, 2011 - Page 2 News List

MOE moves to ease overseas compatriot student restrictions

By Flora Wang  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday approved a draft amendment to the regulations for Studying and Counseling Assistance for Overseas Compatriot Students in Taiwan (僑生回國就學及輔導辦法) to extend the amount of time these students can visit Taiwan.

The amendment proposes to extend the maximum length of stay every year from 90 to 120 days to meet the students’ needs regarding family visits and vacations.

The amendment also seeks to relax the requirement on overseas compatriot students entering graduate schools for working professionals, allowing only those who have obtained legal residency, not as a student, to file an application for such schools.

Currently, the students are barred from applying for graduate programs for working professionals for fear they could try to obtain residency in Taiwan through enrolment in such programs.

If approved by the legislature, the amendment would allow universities and colleges that have received permission to begin to recruit overseas Taiwanese compatriots and allow such students to apply for programs directly with the schools.

At present, the students can only file applications to return to Taiwan for study and provide a priority list of the schools they are interested in to embassies, consulates, representative offices or organizations authorized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The proposal also seeks to modify the requirement that overseas compatriot students provide formal consent from guardians living in Taiwan. The proposed amendment would exempt students older than 20 from such a requirement.

The draft also proposes to allow universities and colleges to fill their local student vacancies by recruiting overseas compatriots.

To prevent compatriots from working illegally while in Taiwan, the amendment would require obliging schools and the Council of Labor Affairs to immediately deal with students found to have worked illegally. Schools that fail to comply would see their number of vacancies for overseas compatriots cut.

The draft would also allow talented compatriots to stay in Taiwan for internships after graduation rather than requiring that they leave the country after graduation, suspension of studies or expulsion.

Meanwhile, a ministry official said that the government had decided it would allow public universities to merge as student numbers continue to shrink because of the nation’s low birthrate.

Two planned mergers, one of them involving National Taiwan University, are likely to go ahead after the legislature passed a bill on Monday allowing colleges to team up to better utilize resources, the official said.

The bill came after a recent forecast predicted that about 60 colleges out of the current 164 could close by 2021 because of a shortage of students.

About 300,000 high-school graduates are eligible to apply for college each year, but the number is expected to drop to 195,000 in 2021, demographic forecasts show.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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