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Relaxed travel ban for draft-age men passes legislative committee

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Legislature's National Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday passed an amendment to relax the travel ban currently imposed on conscription-age men to allow them to go abroad to study before completing their military training.

The amendment to the Conscription Act (兵役法) still has to clear the legislative floor before taking effect.

The act currently stipulates that all eligible males must complete compulsory military service before they can study abroad unless they receive permission to study in a foreign country before turning 20 years old.

The latest amendment to the act has decided to scrap this requirement.

Once the bill is passed by lawmakers, men who are obliged to serve in the military can delay mandatory service for undergraduate studies until the age of 24, until 27 for graduate programs and until the age of 30 for those pursuing doctoral degrees.

According to the Ministry of National Defense (MND), the change was made to meet the rising demands of draft-age men who wish to travel aboard to continue their studies overseas.

The proposal is also part of a plan to respond to an expected surplus of recruits after the planned abolition of compulsory military service.

The government announced in December 2011 that eligible males born after Jan. 1, 1994 would no longer need to complete compulsory military service; instead, they will only need to undergo four months of military training.

  

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