Taiwan to offer agricultural working holiday program for SE Asian nations

800 to 1,000 people each year from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand will be provided with work permits for up to 180 days to work in Taiwan's agricultural sector

Farmer in Taitung (Image from Flickr user 伊夫)

Farmer in Taitung (Image from Flickr user 伊夫)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) has been negotiating for a new working holiday program that would encourage foreigners from Southeast Asia to visit Taiwan for limited stays to work in the agricultural sector.

This week the after inter-ministerial talks, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has agreed to assist the COA to promote the new work permit program with foreign governments in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Under the current plans outlined in a memorandum of cooperation between the MOFA, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of the Interior, and COA, between 800 and 1,000 people between the ages of 20 and 45 would be allowed to apply for the program to come to Taiwan for stays of up to 180 days.

The major stipulation of the current agreement however is that only relatives of New Immigrant residents already in Taiwan will be eligible to apply for the program.

According to the report from UDN, the measure is intended to ensure a proper support network for participants once they arrive, and will also make it easier for the government to keep track of participants’ whereabouts if their relatives shoulder some responsibility for them.

Local agricultural associations hosting the visiting workers, and their relatives in Taiwan, will make the process of finding suitable accommodation much less difficult.

UDN reports that a consensus was achieved during the dialogues for 800 to 1,000 people per year to be accepted as per these guidelines. MOFA is now expected to propose the work holiday program to the governments in Southeast Asia.

Taiwan hopes to build local bridges in accordance with the New Southbound Policy, while also supplementing the agricultural workforce in some regions of the country with enthusiastic people who are eager to learn about Taiwan and Taiwan’s agricultural techniques and industry.

The government of Vietnam has reportedly already expressed interest in the program.