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People on working holidays not laborers: ministry

2012/09/15 17:58:57

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Saturday that Taiwanese on working holidays abroad should not be labeled as "Taiwanese laborers" since the holidays are more about learning than performing manual labor.

The ministry was intent on polishing the image of working holidays after a local magazine report indicated that the program was turning into an overseas jobs scheme.

Business Today told the story earlier in the week of a National Tsing Hua University economics graduate leaving Taiwan for a better-paying job at an Australian meat processing plant through the program, sparking concerns of more Taiwanese using working holidays to do manual labor in higher-wage countries.

In response, the ministry said in a statement that working holidays were launched to encourage students to venture overseas to broaden their horizons and enrich their international experience.

Taiwan has reached reciprocal working holiday agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Britain and Germany.

The program has proven largely beneficial, helping many participants improve their language skills and find work after they return, the statement said, rejecting the idea that those who go on working holidays are simply "Taiwanese laborers."

At the same time, the ministry urged prospective participants to fully understand the contract terms, work conditions and compensation of potential jobs before embarking on such holidays.

(By Chen Pei-huang and Scully Hsiao)