The Jakarta Post
The administration of President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has decided to permanently ban the sending of migrant informal workers to the Middle East in a bid to better protect Indonesian workers abroad.
In a meeting with House of Representatives Commission IX on health and welfare, Manpower Minister Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri said the government was resolute in its decision and would instead focus on supporting more workers to enter labor markets in Asia-Pacific countries.
'The ministry has asked migrant worker placement firms that have been managing placements in Middle Eastern countries to transform their businesses. The government will continue to help, support and facilitate their operation so that they can send Indonesian migrant workers in the formal sector,' he said.
Hanif said that if the firms continued to focus on the informal sector, they would be allowed to send workers only to Asia-Pacific countries.
Recent data from the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) shows that there are currently 3.6 million Indonesians working in both the formal and informal sectors overseas.
Some 80 percent of the migrant workers hail from 55 cities across the nation, including Sukabumi and Indramayu in West Java, Banyumas and Cilacap in Central Java and Parepare in South Sulawesi.
In response to a long list of problems surrounding Indonesian migrant workers in the informal sector, including those related to rights violations and legal issues, the ministry decided earlier this month to halt the sending of migrant workers to 21 countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
Hanif maintained that the policy was final and non-negotiable.
'There's no need to use words like 'moratorium' as we have clearly stated that the ban is permanent,' he said.
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