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Very few foreigners visiting Taiwan on working holidays

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan will beef up its efforts to promote working holiday programs with partner countries, as statistics show that very few foreign youths have taken advantage of the programs, Foreign Minister David Lin (林永樂) said yesterday.

The government has signed reciprocal working holiday agreements with 10 countries so far, including Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Hungary.

According to the ministry's numbers, a total of 120,000 Taiwanese youths age between 18 to 35 have taken advantage of the program since 2004, the first time a foreign country has signed such deal with Taiwan.

However, very few foreign youths had visited Taiwan until the two-way pacts, according to the Foreign Ministry statistics.

  For instance, since the Taiwan-United Kingdom Youth Mobility Scheme took effect in 2012, only 30 young Britons have visited under the project.

In contrast, some 1,000 Taiwanese have visited the UK under the scheme each year, according to the ministry.

Asked by several lawmakers to explain the situation, Foreign Minister Lin said at a legislative hearing yesterday that Taiwan needs to do a better job attracting young foreigners to take advantage of the working holiday agreements.

Lin, however, noted that the main problem of very few foreigners visiting Taiwan under working holiday visas is based on whether Taiwan's working environment can offer suitable jobs to serve as an incentive.

Taiwan will also continue to promote the country as a good place to learn Mandarin to attract foreigners, Lin added.

April 10, 2014    xindiansale@
Taiwan might want to have a look at how foreigners are treated on a day to day basis before wondering why it's not attractive to come here on a working holiday~

~ Want to drive? Well guess what, you either swap your license for a Taiwanese one which can basically only be used in Taiwan and only if your country has a reciprocal agreement and hey you'd better have more than a year left on your 1 year ARC or you can't swap it....

~ Want to sign up for a basic service like ADSL? Have an ARC valid for longer that the minimum contract length? No? Well tough luck so. If you come over you better have an apartment and sign up for ADSL the very day you get your 1 year ARC. Landlord won't rent to you without an ARC? Tough luck so.

~ Want to have a local credit card as the supermarket won't accept your foreign one? Well tough, that ain't happening

~ Have health insurance? You better because you're not getting NHI until you've been here for a few months

~ Would you like a cell phone contract? No sorry, that pesky ARC thing again

~ Arrived in July? Lovely, that'll be 18% tax please and 18% for next year too, should have landed earlier!

30 Britons came to Taiwan compared to 1000 Taiwanese going to Britain, is it really difficult for these guys to figure out why?
April 11, 2014    curtisakbar@
The main problem is the language barrier. Very few "working holiday" jobs will cater for non-Chinese speakers. Unless more foreign owned businesses open their doors to backpackers or others hire foreign speakers to assist in job placements, the situation will remain.
April 11, 2014    maoman@
Xindiansale: you might want to look into the driver's license situation again, it's been updated twice and over the past 6 years. Much easier these days.
I don't think the ADSL argument holds water either: put it under the landlord's name.
The main issue is jobs. Are these exchange students allowed to teach?
April 13, 2014    taipeir2001@
The main problem is the poor pay and working conditions in Taiwan and the fact that Taiwan is not on any well known tourist trail for Westerners. Why would somebody come here (and pay a lot of money to do so) to earn minimum wage in Taiwan....109 ntd/hour before deductions.

April 22, 2014    naguoning@
The government is really a joke. People on the working holiday are not allowed to study Chinese here at the same time. Last year 35000 Taiwanese went to Australia on working holidays. Australians to Taiwan? per year an average of 14 on working holiday. People I met tried it and were told "it does not exist" by government people. It seems the government is deliberately putting barriers in place against foreigners using it whilst pretending not to. Australia's government would do well to cancel the whole scheme and deport all Taiwanese using it or at the very least limit the numbers to not more than say 50% more than visas granted to Australians (it is supposed to be based on allowing people to gain the same benefits in both directions).
April 23, 2014    mujibulk63@
In recent years, even many Overseas Chinese, the beneficiaries of the program, complained about job categories available and low pay. The standard pay for odd jobs, NT$ 100 - 120, is an injustice to the local undergrad students and youths.

I assume, the 10 countries that offer Working Holidays have done so to provide wider exposure of their culture and environment to the R.O.C. youths

The R.O.C. government, unfortunately, doesn't have the same attitude.

I hope that when foreign minster Lin expressed his concern for attracting young foreigners to take advantage of the working holiday agreements, he really meant it, and will work his best to make it happen.
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