Visa Crunch

MAC Insists Education Ministry To Allow High-School Students From Hong Kong, Macau To Study In Taiwan

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has reportedly asked the Ministry of Education to allow high-school students from Hong Kong and Macau to study in Taiwan, but the ministry has yet to implement the changes it promised last year, sources informed Taipei Times on January 3.

The ministry has said it would amend regulations permitting high-school students from the Chinese territories to travel to Taiwan for study. However, it has not released any information about when the policy would be enacted.

Under current regulations, residents of Hong Kong and Macau must obtain a residency permit to attend a non-tertiary school, while those wishing to attend a standard public high school can only enroll at the National Overseas Chinese Senior High School.

The change would allow students to obtain a student visa to attend any public or private high school in Taiwan. School principals or board members would also be permitted to serve as legal guardians for students younger than 18.

It has been more than a year since the ministry proposed the changes in December 2019, but it has yet to provide a specific timetable for implementation, the council said.

Considering concerns raised by Hong Kong-based organizations and parents, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) has reportedly asked the ministry to speed the process, the sources informed Taipei Times.

Meanwhile, an official with knowledge of the matter said that academic exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong are expected to drop off as Beijing promotes “patriotic education” in the territory and prosecutes pro-democracy groups.

As freedoms become further eroded in Hong Kong, more people are expected to seek other places to live, they said, calling on the ministry to act soon and allow high schoolers the opportunity to study in Taiwan.

The ministry later on January 3 said that it on August 5 last year submitted proposed regulation changes to the Executive Yuan for approval. The Executive Yuan on September 29, 2021, sent the draft back to the ministry with recommendations that the ministry conduct more research on the matter, it said.

The ministry said that it also held discussions with the council on December 13, and is polishing terms in the draft as recommended by the Executive Yuan and the council.

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