Addressing a press conference about the scheme at the office, Chang said the government believed that Macau will further strengthen its cooperation with the economies covered by the central government’s Belt and Road Initiative, adding that the scheme aimed to help meet Macau’s growing need for multilingual professionals.
According to Chang, the government therefore decided to provide opportunities for young people to learn more languages.
Permanent residents who are under 45 years old, have a bachelor’s degree and who have studied in a tertiary institution or secondary school in Macau for at least three years, will be eligible to apply for the scheme.
The statement said the length of the language course must be less than 24 months. The scheme also requires the length of Putonghua courses to be not less than six months while Portuguese and English courses to be not less than nine months.
The office will pay the interest of loans of up to MOP 5,000 per month of those who take a Putonghua course in the mainland and the interest of loans of up to MOP 15,000 (US$ 1,875) per month of those who take a Portuguese course in Portugal, Brazil or other Portuguese-speaking countries, and an English course in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada or other English-speaking countries.
The government will only provide the subsidy for up to 70 percent of the interest on the loan during the term of the course. Once the course is completed and the applicant submits the relevant documents to the office the government will pay the remainder of the interest.
Chang said there would be no limit on the number of applications for the scheme. Regarding the length of the repayment period of the loan, Chang said it depended on the duration of the courses, adding the applicants could discuss it with their bank.
Chang also said successful applicants could only benefit from the scheme once, adding that the budget for the scheme this year was MOP 2.1 million (US$ 262 million).