India, Taiwan to ink labour mobility pact

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 13

India and Taiwan are negotiating a labour mobility pact that will institutionalise the movement of professionals from here to Taipei, said sources.

With falling demographics like its East Asian peers Japan and South Korea – Taiwan last year recorded more deaths than births – India senses an opportunity to make the island nation a destination for its skilled workers.

“We are looking at every sector,” said a source.

Taiwan currently employs about 7 lakh foreign workers and feels the need for more. There are 10,000 Indians living in Taiwan, the biggest group being of students.

There are also several rich Indians based in Taiwan with business in gems and jewellery but the labour mobility pact would ensure many more could become expatriates in a country that by law prohibits different wage scales for local and foreign workers.

With a minimum pay of $ 24,000 annually, Taiwan is an attractive destination for Indian workers, said the sources.

Currently, most of the foreign workers from Taiwan are from Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Thailand, which began sending workers to Taiwan 20 years back, and Vietnam have an advantage because of their huge ethnic Chinese community. As a result there are no language barriers.

As many as 2.5 lakh Vietnamese work in Taiwan. Thais numbers though are falling as Bangkok is experiencing labour shortage.

The idea of a labour mobility pact began making the rounds of South Block three years back. But the Wuhan and Chennai informal summits between Chinese President Xi Jinping and PM Narendra Modi put it on the backburner. After the Galwan Valley clash, the die has been cast for a prolonged chill in Sino-Indian ties, giving the idea a second life.

But the mobility of Indian workers to Taiwan could run aground on the language issue as there are few Mandarin speakers here. A labour mobility pact with Japan has had a sluggish start because of this issue.

Sources said India would have to move fast on a labour mobility pact because Taiwan has already signed one with Malaysia but has not activated it.

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