Critical Notes On The Protection Of Indonesian Migrant Workers

Indonesian migrant workers is one of the nation’s complicated problems. On the first hand, their status is a concrete solution to overcome the inability of governments in creating equity and employment. The national economy cannot absorb the labor force in February 2009 has reached 113.74 million with a quantity of unemployment amounted to 9.26 million people.

In fact in the last five years their placement abroad continued to increase until the average per year to reach 596,115 people. They spread in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, the rest to other countries like the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Jordan, Hong Kong, Taiwan. With that quantity, workers have contributed much to the national economy. Contributed they reached USD 8.24 billion (2008) or the first order in the service sector and ranked 2nd after oil and gas foreign exchange earnings. Contributed also contribute to the improvement of family welfare workers estimated 16 million people. The amount of the contribution it makes workers often referred to as a hero of foreign exchange.

Ironically, that contribution was far different from the quality of employment protection in foreign countries they receive. Research Center for Manpower Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration recorded in 2007 only 42% of workers who completed the contract, and 25% worked less than 2 years due to a problem and leave. 15.7% during their placement experiencing problems, such as: experiencing physical violence, is not given a ticket back to Indonesia, passports were withheld employer / agent, unpaid salaries, communication difficulties and adjustments of local culture, excessive working hours, sexual harassment, and rest and eating facilities, inadequate drinking. In terms of working time, generally by Indonesian migrant workers in the UAE and Jordan did not know the holidays and tend to be “stuck”, during the contract. Over 60% of their work above 12 hours a day.

Migrant Care (2007) also recorded 171 cases of their death in various countries; 108 women, 61 men and 2 cases of unknown identity. Organization of international migrant workers was also found 140 cases of Indonesian migrant workers who become victims of violence; 125 women and 15 men.

Blind Rights and Obligations

The phenomenon of lack of their protection have actually long been a concern Labor Department officials and Transmigration. Minister of Labor and Transmigration RI in the opening meeting of the technical work placements Indonesia migrant workers abroad in Cisarua, Bogor, in January 2003, never mentioned if the source of the problem 80% of migrant workers in Indonesia precisely in the country. Meaning Indonesia migrant labor problem was more related to the problem at this stage of before the placement and post placement rather than placement. The root of the problem is not optimal socialization function of potential recruitment which led to the readiness is low. They are not “literate” people’s rights and obligations.

Can not be denied if the prospective workers generally come from rural, predominantly among the economically weak, with low education levels. This condition eventually led to the deviation of the right of protection who ironically happened at each stage, namely before the placement, during the placement and post the placement.

Deviation at this stage of before the placement training envisaged (especially the language, culture and job skills) and Preparation of Final Departure is intensive and applied with a relatively long time to be merely castrated formality requirements and to answer the demands of the government. So it is not surprising that there are who only tasted the program for a month even below that. Consequently, many of the workers who do not understand the contents of the Placement Agreement, Work Agreement not even holding a copy of PK, passport and insurance card

Deviation at the time of placement is negligent to report their existence to the nearest representative office of RI. In the procedure of each placement of they must be reported, but in many cases the Implementing partners Indonesian Manpower Placement Private (PPTKI) also being indifferent to these obligations. As a result of monitoring to be difficult. This condition is exacerbated by the workers often detention of identity experienced, broken communication, and not all who completed a contract reported to the Representative of the Republic of Indonesia and obtain their rights when returning to Indonesia.

Deviations that occur post-placement is outside costs such as currency exchange standards, fares, and charges his way overland journey from the place of the Terminal III of Soekarno-Hatta to the area of origin. There was no post-placement assistance is also a former still make working overseas as a major alternative when their funding ran out and or unemployment.

Therefore, alleviation of the rights and obligations of migrant workers into something important. There should be standardized to measure the readiness to work abroad. This course is supported by the implementation must socialization, recruitment controlled, training and preparation Departure End of the parties involved are competent. Not enough to revoke business license service Indonesian migrant workers who make the deviation. There needs to be a criminal penalty to bring the deterrent effects.

Supports Less Regulation

By law, the government has issued legislation to ensure the protection of Indonesian migrant workers such as the Ministerial Decree No. 138/Men/2000 concerning Amendment to Decree of the Minister of Manpower No.Kep-204/Men/1999 about Manpower Placement to Foreign Affairs, and Director General of Development Decision Manpower Placement No. Technical Guidelines Kep-107/BP/1999 Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Foreign Affairs through insurance, as well as minister Decree No. 104A / 2002 on Indonesian Migrant Workers Placement of Foreign Affairs. Law No. 13/2003 on Employment, which then encourage the implementation of Law No. 39 / 2004 on Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Foreign Affairs had tried to facilitate the “importance” of Indonesian migrant workers in general. However, all the legislation is perceived less supportive of the implementation is still the best protection.

The reason is the protection abroad is clear about the area so that placement state jurisdiction can not limited bound by the laws of Indonesia alone. This business has an international dimension related to the 1961 Vienna Convention, 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the United Nations convention on the protection of rights of all migrant workers and members of his family, and other international legal instruments related to the protection of migrant workers and Human Rights. Protection of Indonesian migrant workers is also related to bilateral relations and the placement of legal subjects. In many cases the placement of legal subjects often become a fundamental issue.

Call it placement procedures for Indonesian Migrant workers abroad in accordance with the law can be made on the basis of a written agreement between the government and the government (Article 10) or to the destination country that has laws that protect foreign workers (Article 27). The agreement form Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which, although targeted until July 2007 had been agreed 17 MOU, the fact that until now only 5 countries namely Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Kuwait, and Jordan. But on the ground that the MOU was not quite adequate. MOU still not able to penetrate the jurisdiction of state placements. As a result MOU records only “commitment” of a country to provide protection, not directly provide protection let alone touch the root of the problem.

Government has constraints to be involved in the affairs in the country because not all the placement have rules that can bridge the gaps of international law, especially who organize informal. States the objectives of the placement of Indonesian migrant workers, generally it has had the protection. Act, but only set of professional manpower (skilled labor). Whereas the majority are informal workers like domestic workers, gardeners, and drivers. This policy can be found in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Informal migrant workers in Kuwait, even regulated in the law so that residents Foreigner their rights and obligations is the sole authority of the employer.

International Political Strength

The fundamental difference between Indonesia and the Philippines is the substance migrant labor policy. If Indonesia is more focused on setting the operational mechanism of the placement of migrant workers, ranging from the establishment of procedures for Service Companies Indonesian Migrant Workers, financing structures, and technical issues other; the Philippines have established efforts to protect migrant workers as one of the main focus of its foreign policy, even been dissected in the gender segmentation. Since June 1995, the Philippines has a law protection of migrant workers, while the law only applied Manpower in 2003. When the Philippine labor attache had been formed and crisis center set up in countries of migrant workers placement, then Indonesia is still struggling in the division of authority between the National Agency for the Protection of Migrant Workers Placement Indonesia and the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration.

Proved an effective political force to strengthen the protection of migrant workers who caught the national jurisdiction of state placements. When Sarah Balabagan and Flor Contemplacion, Filipino migrant workers, threatened with death, all political forces deployed overseas Filipino to free them. Philippines did not even hesitate to threaten to cut diplomatic ties with countries that do not treat the placement migrant workers fairly and with dignity.

Mechanism “consular and diplomatic protection” which was used as a reference for Indonesia is not enough to guarantee the protection of Indonesian migrant workers. Especially in countries that do not regulate the protection of migrant workers in the domestic sector workers. It is ridiculous when resting the protection of migrant workers in Indonesia just a “good will” of the employer. Morality is not reliable, especially in the Arab countries are more or less inherited the culture of ignorance “slave”.

System operational mechanisms placement of Indonesian migrant workers, monitoring and evaluation system as feedback to improve the quality of Indonesian migrant labor services, both nationally and in every area sender, or increase the selection of placements will be redundant when the government guaranteeing the execution of RI are still stepping on the line polite.

In the future, the government of Indonesia needs to put all the political forces abroad to bind the parties in foreign countries that share responsibility for the protection of Indonesian migrant workers. Surely the condition would only occur if there is cross-departmental cooperation, cross-sector, including the power of civil society organizations in the country. This synergy is important for Indonesia should be able to find opportunities in international forums so that the protection of Indonesian migrant workers abroad can be improved.