Taiwan agrees to bring in Indian migrant workers to ease job crunch

By Thomson Reuters Feb 16, 2024 | 4:33 AM

TAIPEI (Reuters) – Taiwan and India signed an agreement on Friday to bring in Indian migrant workers to the island as labour-strained Taipei seeks to expand its foreign workforce beyond its traditional source countries of Southeast Asia.

Taiwan, a major semiconductor producer but with an ageing society, is host to around 700,000 migrant workers who come mostly from Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, many of whom work in either in manufacturing or as home helpers for the elderly.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Labour said that the memorandum of understanding had been signed between each other’s de facto embassies in Taipei and Delhi, but implementation details will still need to be worked out.

The ministry said demand for workers in Taiwan for manufacturing, construction, agriculture and other industries has continued to expand which Taiwan is unable to fulfil itself, so demand for migrant workers has increased year by year.

“The quality of Indian labour is stable, they are hard working and well considered,” the ministry said.

A small-scale pilot scheme will start first, and if that goes well more Indian workers will be allowed in, it added, without saying how many workers may eventually come only that the numbers would be decided by Taiwan.

Taiwan has previously denied reports that up to 100,000 Indian workers may be allowed in.

India, like most countries, has no formal ties with Chinese-claimed Taiwan, but there is a close business relationship with India wanting to encourage more Taiwanese tech companies to invest and manufacture in India.

India also has a difficult relationship with China, especially over their disputed shared border.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill)