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Whither Indonesian labour migration? Developments in the past decade

CollectionsANU Crawford School of Public Policy
Title: Whither Indonesian labour migration? Developments in the past decade
Publisher: The Australian National University. College of Asia and the Pacific. Crawford School of Public Policy.
The presentation deals with recent developments area of international migration and the impact that government policy and international negotiations had on migration flows and the welfare of migrants. While showing how migration from Indonesia followed patterns similar to those experienced by neighbouring countries, we argue that the high proportion of female domestic workers and dependence on two main countries of destination, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, made many Indonesian migrants particularly vulnerable to abuse. It is argued that overseas migration has been a very mixed blessing. National and household benefits in terms of remittances have been substantial and a significant number of much higher paying jobs than at home are being provided to migrants. There was also an improvement in the management and conditions of work among Indonesian migrant workers during the SBY years. These advantages need to be counterbalanced against the abuse of human rights inherent in the main forms and patterns of migration. Implementation has been weak and the National Law on Migration (2004) is badly in need of revision. The suspension of new flows of domestic workers to major receiving countries in the Middle East in 2011 meant a welcome rebalancing of migration in favour of more skilled male workers. However, failure to provide the quasi-independent placement and protection agency with greater influence over policy (akin to the Philippines Overseas Employment Agency) has been a major shortcoming.


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