Taiwan agricultural working holiday program for Southeast Asian nations to start in June: COA

The program targets New Southbound Policy countries including Vietnam, India, the Phillippines, and Thailand

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a rice paddy in Taiwan (image by Pixabay)

a rice paddy in Taiwan (image by Pixabay)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The agricultural working holiday program for New Southbound Policy countries is expected to be implemented as early as in June, Council of Agriculture Minister Lin Tsung-hsien announced today.

Lin made the announcement in the kick-off meeting on April 24 for the National Agriculture Conference scheduled for September 7 and 8, reported the Liberty Times.

The program--aimed at Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand--is proposed to supplement the island’s agricultural workforce. A six-month trial-run for the program is being planned, with relatives of new immigrants already residing in Taiwan to receive priority for reviewing their application for the program.

According to the proposal, a quota of 200 openings will be granted for each of the four countries. Relevant guidelines are currently being drawn up by the COA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Ministry of Labor. The four countries have expressed interest in the program as they work on fast-tracking required administrative procedures.

COA is also in discussions with MOL on the viability of directing fishermen to aid in the agricultural sector during the fishing moratorium. The measure will be carried out as soon as next month when Taiwan could face a shortage of farm labor thanks to the expected bumper harvest for lychee in the southern part of the island.

Regarding the wages for the workers enrolled in the working holiday program, COA gave a rough idea how much the individuals will earn. For garlic-picking, the daily wage ranges from NT$1,200 (US$40) to NT$1,500 (US$50), while those carrying rice seedlings will be paid a higher amount between NT$1,800 (US$60) and NT$2,000 (US$67) for eight hours of work.