Saturday, May 9, 2015


     Jakarta, May 9, 2015 (Antara) -- Lack of job opportunities and poverty are among factors that made Indonesia one of the world's largest suppliers of migrant workers, including domestic helpers, overseas.
         Among the largest recipients are Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, and South Korea.
         Taking care of some five million migrant workers (according to 2012 data) overseas is no easy task as the government has to spend a lot of time, energy, and money on protecting them. However, it is merely the logical consequence of the government's inability to create enough jobs for its people at home.
         The administration of President Joko Widodo has planned to stop the sending of domestic helpers abroad by 2018, by when the country's economic growth rate is expected to improve significantly.

         It was Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla who revealed the plan that Indonesia will no longer allow its nationals to work as housemaids overseas.
         "We plan to stop sending migrant workers to work as housemaids abroad, starting late 2018," Kalla said on May 6.
         By 2018, Indonesia's economy will grow further, and there will be more job opportunities, he affirmed.
         "In the next two to three years, our economic growth rate is estimated to reach 7 percent, and there will be more job opportunities," he stated.
         However, the sending of trained and skilled workers for jobs in the formal sector will continue and even be encouraged, he added.
         At present, the sending of migrant workers to work in the informal sector as housemaids is still needed to reduce the current number of unemployed, the vice president explained.
         President Joko Widodo confirmed that within the next two to three years, Indonesia will stop sending domestic workers to all countries entirely.
         "The process of sending Indonesians to work in informal sectors, particularly as domestic workers, must be terminated in stages," he remarked on May 8.
         The fact that several Indonesian migrant workers were on death row had been taken into consideration by the government, he revealed.
         "I cannot imagine that we send our women abroad and then receive a list of 260 people going through legal procedures," he said, adding that creating wider job markets in Indonesia will prevent Indonesians from seeking jobs in other countries.
         According to the president, the Indonesian government recently decided to stop sending domestic helpers to Middle Eastern countries. This policy should be supported by all governmental institutions in Jakarta and all provinces.
         He appealed to the central and regional governments to create new job markets for the people to keep the unemployment rate in check.
         "I have a message for the workforce and transmigration office. Please do not encourage our people to work abroad as domestic workers," he emphasized.
         Earlier, Manpower Minister M. Hanif Dhakiri had said that the government had decided to stop sending Indonesian migrant workers to 21 countries in the Middle East to protect workers of the informal sector who are mostly women.
         He pointed out that there were several cases of violations, such as human trafficking activities, in the destination countries of Indonesian workers.  
    Indonesia will stop sending domestic helpers to 21 Middle Eastern countries, he stated. These include Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, South Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Jordan.
         Besides deciding to no longer send domestic workers to 21 Middle Eastern countries, Indonesia will also tighten their placement in the Asia-Pacific region, the minister noted.
         "This policy was made because in terms of protection, the welfare of workers in the Asia-Pacific region and civility towards them is still better than in the Middle East," he remarked while explaining the road map to halt the placement of domestic helpers with individual employers abroad.
         He stressed that the government will only tighten their placement, not stop sending domestic workers to the Asia-Pacific region altogether.
         Dhakiri further noted that cases of Indonesian migrant workers being harmed in the Asia-Pacific region were relatively less than in Middle Eastern countries.    
    According to the minister, the execution of two Indonesian migrant workers, Siti Zaenab and Karni, in Saudi Arabia was one of the factors taken into consideration while making the policy decision.
         "The situation concerning our migrant workers, who were working as domestic helpers, has led to many problems such as those related to labor norms and human rights violations," he pointed out.
         "According to the law, the government has the right to stop the placement of migrant workers in particular countries if it is believed that their employment degrades human values and the dignity of the nation," Dhakiri emphasized.
         Moreover, Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa has expressed her support for the plan to stop the sending of housemaids overseas by late 2018.
         "Good. In my opinion, we should stop sending housemaids to work overseas and replace them by sending formal manpower," the minister said here on Thursday.
         Some foreign countries such as Japan do need Indonesian formal workers. Japan needs 400 social workers annually to work in homecare services for seniors, she added.
         "We have not been able to meet the demand. We should map out such opportunities and prepare human resources," she remarked.
         In addition, the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) said it will find alternative jobs for housemaids who will be affected by the new policy to come into effect late 2018.
09-05-2015 22:22:29

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