Migrant workers from four Southeast Asian countries will soon be required to submit their fingerprints to obtain a work visa for Taiwan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.
Starting on March 1, applicants from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines will be required to submit to fingerprinting at Taiwan’s liaison offices in their home countries as part of the standard visa application process, Bureau of Consular Affairs Director-General Thomas Chen (陳經銓) said.
The fingerprinting program will be launched on a trial basis next month and April so that the ministry can gauge its effect and people’s reactions, Chen said.
Currently, workers from those countries are fingerprinted at the National Immigration Agency -after entering Taiwan.
Fingerprinting helps the government track migrant workers who return to Taiwan on fake documents after their work contracts have expired or after they have been deported, Chen said.
“[Those] countries do not have rigorous procedures for processing visas, which permits false applications or applications under false identities. National security is the main concern,” Chen said late last year when the policy was first announced.
Both the Taiwan International Workers’ Association and TransAsia Sisters Association, Taiwan, have voiced opposition to the policy, saying: “It is a policy of racial discrimination because the ministry assumes that people from those countries are more likely to come to Taiwan under false pretenses.”