'Taiwanese Proposal' to Bring in 100,000 Indian Workers Provokes Racist Backlash
19:43 15.11.2023 (Updated: 14:02 20.11.2023)
© AP Photo / Manish SwarupIndian workers
© AP Photo / Manish Swarup
India has been trying to sign mobility pacts different nations to enhance opportunities for its rapidly-growing youth population. India inked a mobility pact with Italy this month.
Taiwanese social media users have slammed a proposal by the administration of Taiwan to bring in around 100,000 Indian workers.
Taiwanese social media users on Dcard, a social media platform popular with university students, have used racist remarks to oppose the proposal of opening up the island to migrant workers.
According to conversations on a Dcard thread flagged by Taipei-based Indian research scholar Sana Hashmi, the immigration of Indian workers could cause “social security problems” in the island.
A social media user reckoned that Indian workers would take up housing, thus escaerbating the housing market crisis in the local market. The user noted that there was already a shortfall of affordable housing and renting options in Taiwan.
The social media conversations also centred around the safety of women, as several users shared news reports relating to "crimes against women in India".
“It is disheartening to see views like these. The question we need to ask is if Taiwan is ready for Indian blue-collar workers,” Hashmi said.
She further noted that “biases” against Indians weren’t only confined to blue-collar jobs and that “stereotypes” against Indians existed in various other fields.
She attributed these cultural biases to the fact that many Taiwan residents relied on “western media for news,” which have been found to have a tendency to perpetuate colonial stereotypes against people from India and other developing nations.
Discussions on Labour Pact
Bloomberg reported last week that the administration of Taiwan was looking to hire Indian workers to work at farms, factories and in the healthcare sector to address labour shortages caused by a rapidly ageing population.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed last week that there were, indeed, discussions on a labour and mobility pact.
‘No Immediate Introduction’ of 100,000 Indian Migrant Workers, Taiwan Clarifies
A press release from Taiwan’s Ministry of Labour Affairs on 15 November clarified that the local authorities didn’t intend to immediately introduce 100,000 Indian migrant workers once it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with New Delhi next month.
“After Taiwan and India sign the MoU, they would still have to discuss the number of open industries, migrant qualifications, adjustments to bilateral regulations, and introduction of work procedures through working-level meetings,” it noted.
The ministry statement, originally in Mandarin, underscored that Taiwan would adopt a “step-by-step, steady and pragmatic attitude” towards opening up to the Indian migrant labour.
The labour ministry assured that Taiwan would only allot visas to Indian workers who had no previous “criminal record”.
“The quality and conditions of imported labour must meet the regulations,” according to the statement.
It expressed confidence that the introduction of Indian labour was intended to “contribute to economic and social development” of the region rather than affect its “social stability”.
"Taiwan is facing the problems of declining birthrate, ageing population and labour shortage. At present, the source countries of migrant workers are limited. All walks of life require the government to actively develop new source of countries of migrant workers to assist the industrial and social labour shortage needs," the ministry statement explained.