• Directory of Taiwan

Taiwan says false information spread about Indian migrant workers online

Foreign ministry refutes 100,000 migrant figure, cites 'scaremongering'

Construction workers leave a job site in Taiwan on Nov. 14. (CNA photo)

Construction workers leave a job site in Taiwan on Nov. 14. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan’s foreign ministry responded to anti-Indian sentiment appearing in online discussions among Taiwanese recently, saying some media is “scaremongering” to mislead the public.

Online groups and posts have latched onto reports that stated 100,000 Indian migrant workers will be allowed into Taiwan via a bilateral agreement to be signed before the end of the year. On Nov. 16, Taiwan’s labor ministry called the report “fake news.”

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Taiwan’s foreign ministry further refuted the reports. The ministry said the terms of a future agreement with India regarding migrant workers were still under discussion, and “there is no basis for the 100,000 figure.”

“Many of the comments in online debates on this issue are strikingly similar in phrasing, suggesting automized use of fake accounts or paid commenters,” the ministry said in a Facebook post. The ministry also said that some of the comments appeared to suggest Chinese migrant workers would be superior to Indian workers.

Those who engaged in anti-Indian migrant worker discussions online said they feared Indian migrant workers would make Taiwan less safe. Some groups have stated intentions to organize protest marches against increasing the number of Indian migrant workers in Taiwan.

In a Taipei Times opinion piece published on Tuesday, Sana Hashmi, a self-described advocate for India-Taiwan relations, wrote that this fear was unfounded. She said fears were likely motivated by biased media coverage that is either explicitly opposed to the workers or racist and erroneous in its depictions of Indian people.

Labor shortages are an ongoing concern in Taiwan across manufacturing, hospitality, and other industries. According to statistics from job site 104, there have been over 1 million vacant jobs in Taiwan for each of the past nine months.