TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan started suspending entry to non-resident foreigners on Friday (Jan. 1), with schools halting entry permit applications for all international students.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) told CNA that it issued a directive Thursday (Dec. 31) to suspend entry to all international students for at least one month as part of the government's intensified efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19. All foreign students, including those from China, Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as recipients of Taiwan scholarships, are subject to the suspension.
The MOE said the suspension was in response to the Central Epidemic Command Center's decision on Wednesday (Dec. 30) to ban all foreign arrivals at the start of the new year. Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) had explained that only Taiwan citizens, foreign residents, and people with special entry permits will be allowed to enter the country.
The MOE noted the 49 international students who have already obtained entry permits but have yet to arrive in Taiwan will be allowed entry after Jan. 1. It added the suspension may be lifted in a month, depending on the COVID situation at the time.
Currently, there are 19,471 international students pursuing degrees in Taiwan. It is unknown how many foreign students will be affected by the new policy.
Meanwhile, international students in Taiwan are advised not to leave the country, as they may not be allowed to return. The MOE is expected to announce further details of the entry ban at a later time.