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Taiwan-Ireland working holiday scheme to kick off on January 1 of 2013: MOFA

Taiwan and Ireland have reached a reciprocal youth working holiday agreement that will allow a total of 400 Taiwanese youngsters per year to travel to the European country under the scheme starting from January next year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) announced yesterday.

Under the program, both sides will each provide each other with an annual quota of 400 visas for young people between the ages of 18 and 30 to visit for tourism, work or privately funded studies for a period of up to one year, MOFA said in a released statement.

The program is expected to enable young Taiwanese people to visit the European country to broaden their international horizons through learning foreign languages and gaining an in-depth understanding of foreign cultures, societies and lifestyles, the ministry said.

The project is expected to broaden and boost closer exchanges between Taiwan and Ireland and will foster a long-lasting friendship between the youths of both countries, the MOFA said.

Ireland is the eighth country to sign a working holiday agreement with Taiwan, after New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, Germany, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

For Ireland, Taiwan will be the seventh to participate in its working holiday program, joining Argentina, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

MOFA said such working holiday programs are widely popular among local students.

Taiwanese applicants of such schemes have seen a nearly five-fold increase from around 12,400 between 2004 and 2008 per year to the current number of more than 57,000 annually, according to a MOFA survey.

An anonymous MOFA official recently disclosed that Taiwan has been under negotiations with other European countries on working holiday programs as well, including Belgium.

There will be more similar agreements to be announced soon, the source said.

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