XploreAsia Update – June, 2020 – When Can You Start Teaching Overseas?
Many of you are wondering when you will be able to travel overseas to begin your teaching adventure, well, here at XploreAsia, we have been closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis. As the situation progresses, we wanted to provide an update on international travel to our program countries and a discussion of the impact and plans for resuming programs. We also include our current planned intake dates for each country for TESOL + Placement programs.
Things are looking better in Thailand. Domestic cases are down to zero and the country is starting to open up. The Emergency Decree has been extended through June 30, 2020. However, there are less restrictions on freedom of movement within the country. Many more businesses have been permitted to reopen. Strict social distancing measures are still in place. Currently, only Thai nationals are permitted to enter Thailand with a required 14-day state quarantine. Foreigners with work permits and/or contracts in place are able to apply for a “permission to travel” letter from their local Thai embassy. We expect that the ban on international arrivals may expire at the end of June, meaning that non-Thai professionals with work-permits and/or pre-approved visas will be able to return, with a mandatory state-quarantine in place. Thailand is preparing for a staged reopening. We expect June to be update-heavy regarding plans to resume international travel and we’re putting in place a plan to manage groups smoothly even if there is a quarantine requirement in place. We are confident that we will be able to run our August 24 course.
Next intake for Thailand:
- August 24
Vietnam has experienced some of the lowest rates of COVID-19. When the COVID-19 issue emerged, the Vietnamese government moved very quickly to bring in measures to prevent the spread of the virus. As of June 1, Vietnam’s Ministry of Health’s tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 remained at 328. There have been no recorded deaths from Covid-19 in Vietnam. 279 of the aforementioned affected patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals. On May 29, the government announced that it will begin allowing some foreign experts to enter Vietnam. The government outlined plans to allow experts, business managers, investors, high-tech workers who are foreigners working in investment and business projects in Vietnam to enter Vietnam to maintain production and business activities. Specifics on what will happen when things reopen have not been outlined, but it is expected that a limited number of experts will be allowed to enter Vietnam in June. At present, it does not appear that this will apply to foreign teachers. Another positive step towards reopening was announced recently. The Vietnamese government outlined that Vietnam will grant e-visa to citizens of 80 countries from July 1, 2020. This is a positive step towards things reopening, however, the announcement only related to the resumption of visa issuance, and did not specify when Vietnam’s borders will reopen and those with visas will be allowed in. Vietnam’s borders currently remain closed to foreign visitors. We are expecting that throughout June, further updates will be given and that Vietnam will gradually start to open its borders to a wider group of international travelers from July onwards. This may start with business visa holders first, with those traveling for tourism being allowed in later. We are confident that we will be able to run our September 7 course.
Next intake for Vietnam:
- September 7
The Government of Myanmar has suspended all commercial passenger flights until at least the 15th of June. All land borders are shut. Since 13 May, it has been compulsory for anyone going out in public to wear a facemask. Failure to wear one will result in a fine. This requirement is being enforced strictly. Cases remain very low and things are definitely starting to open up inside Myanmar. Schools are supposed to open at the beginning of August but there is no definitive news yet. We are waiting to hear when borders will reopen. As soon as they do, we will work closely with placement participants to assist them in traveling to start their teaching jobs. We expect restrictions to ease enough so that we will be able to run our September 28 course.
Next intake for Myanmar:
- September 28
South Korea mostly has the virus under control with the exception of two smaller outbreaks since social distancing measures were relaxed. The South Korean government actively and aggressively tracks and traces any new cases. Most private schools are open and operating and public schools have started going back at intervals over the past few weeks. Clubs, bars, karaoke rooms, etc have been asked to remain closed as they have been identified as hotspots but all other businesses are open and free to operate. South Korean Airlines have reopened 13 international flight routes as they seek to increase international travel. Korean immigration authorities are also still open and processing visas so teachers who are able to complete their visa documentation are still able to apply for their visa and come over to South Korea to start teaching (after the mandatory 14-day quarantine) either at their residence or at a government-designated facility. If they do not have a residence in South Korea, travelers will be placed in a designated facility at their own expense. The price per day will be KRW100,000 or USD 80. Travelers departing for South Korea will have their temperature tested before boarding. If it is above 37.5 C they will not be allowed to board their flight. Teachers can now travel to Korea and we are in the process of placing teachers now and once they have their placements and visas, they can fly and we can support them in the country.
Next intake for South Korea:
- August 31
Costa Rica has around 1000 cases of COVID-19. It has been praised for its handling of the pandemic and many of its regional neighbors have fared far worse. The country is currently closed to international travelers. From midnight on 18 March 2020 until 30 June 2020, only Costa Rican citizens and legal residents will be allowed entry into the country. These categories of people, entering during this time, will be required to self-isolate for 14-days. Local measures have been put in place to slow the spread of the virus. Due to this, things have been relatively contained and there have been low numbers of new cases. We expect the country to slowly open to international travelers in July.
Next two intakes for Costa Rica:
- August 31
- November 23
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of our program countries opening up again to travel. There will be challenges along the way, and it may take a while for things to return to normal, but our goal is to get you started on your life-changing experience and into your chosen countries to live and work and support you with everything you need even if the process looks different.
If you have any questions about our programs or program countries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!