Attitudes Toward Labor Migrants, Live-in Care Workers, and Skilled Migrants in a New Immigrant Destination: Does Social Contact Matter?

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 12:00
Location: Hörsaal 07 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Hsin-Chieh CHANG, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Yang-chih FU, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Ever since Taiwan first opened its door to labor migrants in the early 1990s and later to more types of foreign workers, the Taiwanese government has only considered marriage migrants (who married with Taiwanese citizens) as legitimate citizens and all others as temporary. As a new immigrant destination and an aging society, Taiwan is in need of more human capital from its neighboring countries to support care work and industries such as construction, fishery, and agriculture. However, unlike western immigrant societies, these migrants have to leave Taiwan whenever their contract ends, without any possibility to apply for citizenship, unless they marry with Taiwanese. The 2015 Taiwan Social Trends Survey is the first-ever large-scale representative survey covering questions on attitudes toward the citizenship rights among labor migrants, live-in care workers, and skilled migrants. Would the Taiwanese welcome non-marriage migrants to apply for citizenship if these “temporary” migrants wish to migrate permanently? Using a representative sample in Taiwan (n=1,203), we found that male, the younger generations, and the highly-educated, tend to be more open to the idea that these temporary migrants becoming permanent residents or citizens in Taiwan. Further, more social contacts with live-in care workers and skilled migrants have statistically significant and positive effects on Taiwanese’s attitudes, but not the case for labor migrant workers. Last but not least, we include some analysis on Taiwanese’ attitudes toward runaway (undocumented) migrant workers, who are constrained by the very restrictive migration policies that they do not have the rights to change employers even under unreasonable work conditions. Using the most updated data in Taiwan, we aim to explore Taiwanese’ attitudes toward migrants of different gender, education levels, and countries of origin. We also wish to call for more tolerant migration policies in Taiwan and other new immigrant destinations.