Sat, Sep 08, 2018 - Page 4 News List

ASEAN students focus of event

CHINESE TALENT:Premier William Lai said that the number of students from ASEAN nations saw an annual increase of 10 percent last year due to government incentives

By Joseph Yeh  /  CNA

China’s Confucius Institute, a non-profit public educational organization affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education, has become a staunch competitor in the promotion of Chinese language and culture, supporting local Chinese teaching in Southeast Asian nations and around the globe.

Nevertheless, Taiwan still has an edge after helping Chinese schools in ASEAN for decades and with its use of traditional Chinese characters, a writing system some prefer to the simplified characters used in China.

“Traditional Chinese characters preserve the beauty of Chinese culture, which is why all of our 68 Chinese-language schools in Myanmar use Taiwan’s teaching materials instead of China’s,” Wang said.

Wang and Lee both called on the government to provide more scholarships and visa privileges for students planning to study in Taiwan.

The government could also do more to allow those students to stay and work in Taiwan after finishing their studies, they said.

In 2014, the Ministry of Labor amended regulations governing work permits for foreign professionals to allow foreign graduates of Taiwanese universities to obtain work permits more easily.

Previously, only an employer willing to pay an average monthly salary of NT$37,619 could sponsor a foreign graduate for a work permit.

According to the new rules, the minimum salary requirement has been replaced with a more flexible system that awards points based on compensation, language ability and experience living abroad.

If a foreign graduate scores 70 points, an employer can sponsor them for a work permit in specialized or technical work.

The Democratic Progressive Party administration plans to take this a step further.

At the opening ceremony, Lai said that the National Development Council (NDC) has drafted an economic immigration act that targets three categories of foreign talent — including ethnic Chinese students.

According to the proposed rules, they and their families would be eligible to apply for permanent residency and naturalization after seven years in Taiwan.

The draft act has been published on the NDC’s online policy platform, where people can post opinions on it until Oct. 5.

After that, it is to go to the Executive Yuan for approval and the legislature for review.

“Hopefully when it officially hits the road, the new bill will help Taiwan retain these talented individuals, and when they ultimately return to their home countries, they can contribute to their economies using the skills and experience learned in Taiwan,” Lai said.

When that day comes, the dream of Yang Hsiao-chieh (楊曉潔) from Myanmar could finally realized.

A sophomore studying electronics at Chung Shan Industrial and Commercial School in Kaohsiung, Wang told reporters that after graduating from high school, she plans to continue her studies at a Taiwanese university before returning home.

“I want to raise money to fund a private school in Myanmar to help the children in my home country,” she said.

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