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NIA makes language learning a priority

NIA makes language learning a priority

Subsidization for language learning programs in various localities will be the primary initiative for the National Immigration Agency, as the language barrier is the most important factor marring communication between new immigrants and Taiwanese, an NIA official said yesterday.
An annual fund of NT$300 million has been allocated and placed under the administration of the NIA, to which local governments can apply for establishing language learning programs to help new immigrants learn Mandarin and Taiwanese, said NIA Director Wu Cheng-chi.
The Ministry of the Interior established the Foreign Spouse Care and Counseling Fund in 2005 with a total budget of NT$3 billion over a 10-year period, Wu said on the sidelines of a seminar discussing care for new immigrants.
The language issue is the biggest challenge for foreign spouses and workers in Taiwan, said Wen Chih-yi, director of a film titled "Nyonya's Taste of Life, which tells the stories of two female Indonesian caretakers and a Thai worker in Taiwan.
"Once we get to understand and befriend them, we will realize that they are no different to us. Most of the cultural differences and misunderstandings come from the language barrier, " she said.
Another important initiative for the coming year will be after-school tutoring for the children of immigrant families because some foreign spouses have difficulties counseling their children, Wu said, adding that this also originates from the language barrier.
Wu denied that the welfare of spouses from China has been ignored by the authorities, saying that the biggest problem for Chinese spouses is obtaining citizenship. Because of "national security issues, " it takes Chinese immigrants eight years to get citizenship, he said.
The NIA will also devote efforts in 2008 to catching runaway foreign workers.
"Unfortunately, runaway workers are a serious problem and we are too short-handed to track all of them," he said.


Updated : 2021-05-07 00:34 GMT+08:00