Desirability and accountability in the governance of immigration under the ma administration

Isabelle Cheng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter looks at immigration governance and policies during the Ma Ying-jiu era which, as a general principle, differentiated between foreign spouses and Chinese spouses on the one hand and high-skilled and low-skilled contract labour on the other. The author ponders over the reasons for the changes in immigration policies after the KMT came to power in 2008, which strengthened the legal status of foreign spouses and Chinese spouses and blue-collar workers from Southeast Asia, three constituencies that evoked negative images among the majority of the Taiwanese people. As the analysis shows, the KMT’s policies were partly driven by their electoral strategy; for example, the migrant spouses were expected to support the KMT as a result of believing that the party had contributed to their social well-being. The policy changes aimed at foreign contract labour, however, were a result of the political pressure that was exerted by the United States to remind Taiwan of its self-created Nationhood of Human Rights narrative rather than the result of a domestically driven agenda. In its systematic attempts to attract global talent to boost Taiwan’s economy, the KMT clearly displayed a bias towards highly skilled foreign labour, most notably by legalising the homemaking services provided by Southeast Asian women to meet the demand of foreign professionals and their families.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAssessing the Presidency of Ma Ying-jiu in Taiwan
Subtitle of host publicationHopeful Beginning, Hopeless End?
EditorsAndré Beckershoff, Gunter Schubert
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781351045100, 9781351045117
ISBN (Print)9781138486591, 9780367590338
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2018

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