Free Chinese class spots still open for Filipino workers in New Taipei

Around 15 spots on New Taipei’s free annual Mandarin Chinese program are still available for Filipino migrant workers, an official with the city’s Labor Affairs Department told CNA Tuesday.

Registration for the program, which will start at the New Taipei City Laborers Activity Center in Wugu District on July 3, is already open and will close on June 29, said Lai Yen-heng (???), a section chief at the department’s Foreign Workers Service Division.

The program will take in around 140 Indonesian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Filipino students, split into four classes grouped by nationality of approximately 35 people, Lai said.

While 98 Indonesians, 77 Thais, and 35 Vietnamese migrant workers have already registered for the program, only 20 Filipinos have so far expressed an interest, Lai added.

The program will start with three-hour basic-level classes on Sundays that run for seven weeks between July 3 and Aug. 14 before progressing to advanced-level classes to be held for six Sundays, starting Sept. 4, according to a Labor Affairs Department statement.

The course starts from simple conversations, all the way to course content such as workplace communication and labor rights, the department said.

New Taipei’s labor department will also provide financial subsidies to the top 30 percent of students who graduate from the advanced class to undergo the Test of Chinese as a Foreign Language exam, Lai said.

The exam is one of the requirements for migrant workers employed in the social welfare sector looking to qualify as a “mid-level skilled worker,” which is a pathway set by the Ministry of Labor to eventually obtain long-term residency.

New Taipei’s free Chinese-language program for migrant workers was introduced in 2016 and has been held every year since then, except in 2017.

As of the end of May, there were 87,782 foreign migrant workers in New Taipei, according to Ministry of Labor statistics.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel