Taiwan informs Brussels of working program difficulties

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Jul 05, 2013 - Page 4

Taiwan’s representative office in Belgium has informed the Belgian government of the difficulties a Taiwanese national who visited the European country recently faced under a working holiday program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said.

Kao made the remarks in response to local media reports that a Taiwanese man had faced many difficulties since arriving in Belgium in late May on a working holiday visa.

The man said he had encountered problems finding employment and applying for a residency permit in Brussels, because shopowners and local authorities were unaware of the working holiday agreement between Taiwan and Belgium, the reports said.

The man also said that the Taiwanese representative office in Belgium failed to offer help when he reported his problems, according to the reports.

After being informed of the case, the Belgian government said its local government officials might not have been be familiar with the new initiative, but it has taken action to inform them about the agreement, Kao said.

The reciprocal working holiday agreement between Taiwan and Belgium took effect in late March. Under the program, both nations provide an annual quota of 200 visas for citizens aged 18 to 30.

According to the terms of the agreement, Taiwanese who visit Belgium under the working holiday program have to register at the local government where they are staying within eight days of their arrival. After completing the registration, they will receive a residency permit allowing them to stay in the country for up to 12 months.

About 50 Taiwanese have already been issued working holiday visas in Belgium under the program, the ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan also has working holiday agreements with New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany, South Korea and the UK.