TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The number of Hong Kong students seeking to study in Taiwanese universities this year has reached 5,300, up by 44 percent compared to the same period last year.
According to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Hong Kong, Taiwan’s universities have admitted 2,700 freshmen from the semi-autonomous Chinese city, with the number expected to hit 3,000 next year, reported HK newspaper Ming Pao.
Education Counselor Ma Hsiang-ping (馬湘萍) of TECO in Hong Kong believes Taiwan's greater appeal can be attributed to its relatively well-managed coronavirus response. A free and safe environment, as well as affordable tuition, also makes Taiwan attractive in the eyes of Hong Kong students, according to Highwise Service Foundation, a Hong Kong-based organization that provides assistance to those wishing to study in Taiwan.
In addition, Taiwan offers a variety of academic disciplines. While Hong Kong universities focus on commerce and finance, Taiwan’s tertiary institutions cover more fields, including engineering, one of the most popular departments among Hong Kong students, said Ma.
Hong Kong students are allowed to stay up to one year in Taiwan for post-graduation internships. Those who have worked in Taiwan for five years and whose wages meet a certain threshold are eligible to apply for permanent residency in the country.
Taiwan has emerged as a preferable place to move since the social unrest experienced in Hong Kong last year and, more recently, since Beijing imposed its national security law and other liberty-depriving measures. A total of 4,775 Hong Kong residents applied to immigrate to Taiwan in the first seven months of this year, while in the past the figure averaged around 5,000 annually, reported UDN.