Taiwan apologises to India after its labour minister says ‘will recruit migrants with similar skin colour’

Image Source : AP Representational Image

Taipei City: A day after the Taiwanese Labour Minister made contentious remarks about the skin colour, religion and diets of some Indians ahead of a mass recruitment drive, it has now swung into damage control mode. In a statement, the Taiwanese Foreign Ministry apologised for the comments made by Hsu Ming-chun during an interview. She said the island nation “may start recruiting migrant workers from India’s northeast region where people have similar skin colour and diets like us”.

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According to CNN, Hsu was responding to a question about an agreement that both nations signed to bring workers from the South Asian nation to the island, which is facing a major labour shortage and a rapidly ageing population.

“Recently, in discussions with relevant sectors in Taiwan’s society, certain government agencies have made remarks that were not entirely appropriate. This has led to criticism among Taiwan’s society, Indian friends, and other international stakeholders. The government expresses sincere apologies for this situation. It will earnestly review its actions and make needed improvements going forward,” read the statement released by the Taiwanese MFA.

Further, it said that the country will welcome any Indian worker who meets the conditions for recruitment and satisfies industry demand, regardless of their ethnic background. It assured that the qualified workers will be treated fairly and accorded due protection under Taiwanese law.

“While promoting labour affairs cooperation with India, the Taiwan government will continue to conduct relevant discussions and planning regarding the number, and professional skills of Indian workers coming to Taiwan, as well as industries for which they will be recruited, so as to put into place a comprehensive framework for related endeavours,” added the statement.

India, Taiwan sign migration agreement 

“Taiwan boasts a civil society that embraces different views and allows for a wide array of voices to be heard. Taiwan also fully respects India’s diverse and rich culture and cherishes the friendship between the peoples of Taiwan and India. It will spare no effort in advancing cultural exchanges and mutual understanding between the two countries, with the aim of further elevating cooperation and partnership between Taiwan and India,” noted the ministry.

It is worth mentioning India and Taiwan signed a migration and mobility agreement in order to facilitate the employment of Indian workers in diverse sectors in the self-ruled island. The ministry said Taiwan is affected by an ageing population and low birth rate, and that is why it is looking at the migrant labour force.

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