Over a month after a media report said that Taiwan could hire as many as 1 lakh Indian workers, the Taiwanese government has clarified that they do not have such plans yet, reported the Central News Agency on Saturday.

According to the report, Taiwanese Labor Minister Hsu Ming-chun has said that no memorandum of understanding has been signed with New Delhi to bring in migrant workers.

On November 10, Bloomberg reported that Taiwan could sign an agreement with India in December to hire Indians to work at factories, farms and hospitals.

The report said that the move came against the backdrop of Taiwan facing a shrinking workforce due to its low birth rate and ageing population. Taiwan is shown to become a “super-aged” society by 2025 as the elderly comprise over a fifth of the population.

However, Hsu has said that any claims about Taiwan seeking to open its doors to 1 lakh Indian workers are “fake” and made by “ill-intentioned people” to manipulate public opinion.

In November, the minister stated that while Taipei and New Delhi are discussing a deal that would allow Indians to work in Taiwan, the report of plans to hire 1 lakh people was inaccurate.

Hsu said that she suspects intentional manipulation of the number of migrants being allowed to enter Taiwan to create panic. “I urge the general public to not fall into this trap of cognitive warfare,” Taiwan-based Formosa News quoted Hsu as saying on November 16.

On November 9, Arindam Bagchi, India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson, confirmed that New Delhi and Taipei have been negotiating an employment mobility agreement. However, he did not provide details of what the agreement will entail.

Later, the Taiwan-based Chinese language newspaper China Times reported that a protest against the entry of Indian workers was being planned in the country in the first week of December. Chinese language news media in Taiwan also reported about some individuals making derogatory remarks online, accusing Indians of being uneducated and raising concerns about the safety of women in Taiwan with the entry of Indian workers.

Following this, the Taiwanese foreign ministry said that the country boasts of significant social diversity and has long embraced migrant workers without prejudice, including those from India.

It also said that the rise in derogatory social media posts about Indian workers is a “textbook example of cognitive warfare and information manipulation” by China.