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Two working holiday pacts suffer delay: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Two working holiday agreements that Taiwan signed with two European countries, originally scheduled to take effect this June, have suffered delays due to internal affairs of the two countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

Taiwan signed a reciprocal working holiday agreement with Hungary this February that was set to take effect in June, allowing young adults aged between 18 and 35 to travel and work in each other's countries.

Taiwan and Slovakia signed a similar agreement this April that was also scheduled to go into effect in June.

However, the two agreements did not take effect as scheduled because the parliaments of the two countries have yet to approve the agreements, Louis Huang (黃敏境), deputy director-general of MOFA's Department of European Affairs, said during a regular briefing yesterday.

“Hungary held a parliamentary election this April and the lawmakers did not put the Taiwan-Hungary agreement into its agenda in this legislative session,” Huang said.

MOFA hopes the Hungarian parliament will put the pact on the agenda for its next session so that the agreement can take effect this September, he noted.

A similar situation also occurred in Slovakia, the MOFA official said. The Slovakian parliament has failed to pass the reciprocal agreement as yet.

Huang expressed his wish that the deal can clear the legislative floor as soon as possible.

Each of the pacts will allow 100 young adults from each country to visit and work in the other country each year, he noted.

According to MOFA, Taiwan has now signed reciprocal working holiday agreements with 11 countries, namely Slovakia, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Hungary in Europe as well as Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

A total of 120,000 locals aged between 18 and 35 have taken advantage of these programs since 2004.

Australia is the most popular destination for Taiwanese. More than 30,000 Taiwanese young people are currently staying in the country under the scheme.

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