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September 21, 2017

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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.

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