TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan's Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday (Aug. 20) said the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has approved its plan to allow international students enrolled in Taiwanese schools to enter the country.
Taiwan tightened its border restrictions on May 19 after the country saw a spike in domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases. Since then, only Taiwanese nationals and foreign nationals with resident permits have been allowed in, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis for emergencies and on humanitarian grounds, according to a CNA report.
Students who are enrolled to study for over a year typically apply for residency, though new students are unable to file an application until they come to Taiwan, according to the MOE. Starting Monday (Aug. 23), schools will inform students about the process to enter the country, including details on the required disease prevention measures, the MOE said.
The Friday announcement came after the MOE said in early August that it was drafting a plan to allow students without residency permits to come to Taiwan as the new school semester is about to start in September. The MOE said the entry plan will start by giving priority to newly-enrolled students and recipients of the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship, which is a government-funded program for Chinese language learners.
Some 13,000 international students belonging to this group are expected to come to Taiwan for the coming fall semester, said Education Minister Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) on Aug. 11. After this, Pan said the ministry will then gradually consider allowing foreign exchange students and those wishing to study Chinese on a short-term basis to come to Taiwan.
Based on CECC guidelines, students who are granted entry must present a negative COVID test result before boarding a plane, and receive both a deep-throat saliva test and a PCR test upon their arrival in Taiwan. During their 14-day mandatory quarantine in the country, they must take a rapid COVID self-test within 10-12 days of arriving, and another PCR test before the end of their time in quarantine.
Students will then need to practice self-health management for another seven days before they can enter their school.