Taiwan looks to India to address manpower shortage

Lazy eyes listen


Taiwan and India are apparently negotiating a “migration and mobility” treaty, as the Chinese territory struggles with a labour shortage in the manufacturing, construction, and agriculture sectors. The agreement could be signed “as early as next month,” according to the Hindustan Times, citing sources familiar with the situation.

Due to similarities in “culture and diet,” Taiwanese enterprises have expressed a significant interest in hiring workers from India’s northeast region, which is home to over 45 million people, according to the report. The move could move bilateral trade “in the right direction” and has “immense potential,” according to the report, which cited Manharsinh Laxmanbhai Yadav, director general of the India-Taipei Association.

Although India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which Beijing views as its own territory, bilateral trade has been growing steadily in recent years, with India ranking as Taiwan’s 14th-largest export destination and its 18th-largest source of imports, the report noted. Trade has grown more than seven-fold in the past two decades, from $1.19 billion in 2001 to $8.4 billion in 2022.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Labour data cited by the Taipei Times, the territory had attracted over 746,000 migrant workers in traditional industries and the caregiving sector as of August, with the majority coming from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Thailand, and to a lesser extent Malaysia and Mongolia.

Jobs in Taiwan may be appealing to Indian employees because the monthly minimum wage on the island is 26,400 New Taiwan dollars (about $820), compared to India’s national-level minimum daily income of 178 rupees (US$2.15), which converts to approximately 5,340 rupees ($65) each month.

In the mid-1990s, India and Taiwan established de facto embassies in the form of representative offices. Taiwan announced intentions to expand its network of similar offices in July.

The expansion of India-Taiwan commercial links will be keenly monitored by Beijing, which has long opposed any such interaction. Following a fatal border standoff in 2020, New Delhi has been progressively strengthening its friendship with Taiwan.

Following former US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s travel to Taiwan last year, China wanted a reaffirmation of India’s commitment to the ‘One China’ policy. At the time, a representative for India’s Foreign Ministry stated, “India’s relevant policies are well-known and consistent.” They don’t need to be repeated.” Despite adhering to the ‘One China’ policy, New Delhi has neither publicly or in bilateral documents repeated the position in over a decade.