‘North-east Indians’ skin colour matches ours’, says Taiwan minister ahead of migrant workers recruitment drive; apologises later

Migrant workers in Taiwan. [File Photo]

Ahead of a potential drive to recruit migrant workers, the Labour Minister of Taiwan Hsu Ming-chun has that Taiwan may start recruiting migrant workers from India’s north-east region where people “have similar skin colour and diets like us.” However, she later issued an apology.

“Furthermore, most people in that region are Christians. Moreover, they are really good at sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture and construction,” Hsu said in an interview with Yahoo TV last week.

Hsu was responding to a question about an agreement that India and Taiwan signed last month to bring workers from the South Asian nation to the island, which is facing a major labour shortage and rapidly ageing population.

At a legislative hearing Tuesday morning, Hsu expressed regret for her ‘inaccurate’ comments, clarifying that Taiwan’s labour policies aim for equality, devoid of discrimination, be it for local or foreign workers.

According to the Central News Agency, she emphasised her intention to highlight the abilities and performance of Indian workers, dissociating from any discriminatory motives.

Legislator Chen Kuan-ting of the Democratic Progressive Party strongly condemned Hsu’s remarks in a video posted on X, “strongly condemned” Hsu’s comments, arguing that skin colour and race should not be criteria for recruiting migrant workers.

In a statement issued on Monday night, the Labor Ministry apologised for Hsu’s ‘inaccurate’ choice of words, emphasising that the comments were not meant to discriminate.

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