The Taiwanese Government has clearly stated that it would not set limit on the number of Indonesian migrant workers into the country. Tsai Meng Liang, Deputy Director General, Workforce Development Agency, Ministry of Labour told ANTARA News exclusively, “Now we set no limit. We would welcome as many as Indonesian government would like to send to us.”
Since Taiwanese workers are getting along well with the Indonesian migrant workforce, especially after Taiwan imposed restrictions on Vietnamese workers for frequent law offences and breach of working contracts. Taiwan has the largest number of Indonesians working to reach 240,000 including 180,000 who work as domestic helpers.
As recently, Taiwan has once again opened gates to allow labour recruitment from Vietnam. Vietnamese workforce is the second largest migrant population in Taiwan totalling to 170,000 closely followed by Philippines with 130,000 workers.
On the other hand, Indonesia plans to reduce the number of domestic helpers sent overseas from the country to zero by 2017, Soes Hindarno, director of placement and protection of overseas workers under the Indonesia’s Ministry of Manpower told The News Lens.
In the recent times, exploitation of Indonesia workers all over the world has been reported widely and many NGOs have drawn serious attention of the government over the human rights issue.
Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia launched the zero-maid policy at the beginning of May this year. “The Indonesian government is gradually reducing the number of its domestic workers working abroad and is planning to launch more than 10 million domestic job openings for these workers while providing technical training as well.”
“By 2018, it is anticipated that Indonesia would export mostly technical workers instead of labourers without professional skills. The policy is expected to progressively take effect from 2017 to 2019.”
In response to the above move by Widodo, Liu Chia-chun, director of the Workforce Development Agency under Taiwan’s Ministry of Labour (MOL) said the Ministry will have talks with the Indonesian government on the issue of ban. Firmly believing on the fact that the ban will soon be uplifted by the Indonesian government from sending workers to Taiwan in particular, he said, “Taiwan offers better benefits than other countries.”
In purview of the recent move by the Indonesian government to withdraw labour supply to International markets, Liu added the Ministry of Taiwan is working towards improving working conditions for the migrant workforce, support recruitment from other countries and encourage local talent to support the care giving industry by providing employee incentives.
Last year, Indonesia banned citizens from working as domestic helpers in 21 countries, particularly in the Middle East which has poor repute as regards fair treatment of foreign workers.
Indonesia’s Minister of Manpower Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri cited reasons for the ban saying, “The most important reason is there are no standardised labour regulations that bind the said countries, to the detriment of migrant workers.”
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, more than 630,000 Indonesians work in the Middle East. However, the government says that could be as high as 1.8 million when illegal workers are taken into account.
The banned countries are: Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Egypt, Oman, Pakistan, and the Palestinian territories, Qatar, South Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Jordan.
According to the Indonesian Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2015-2019, the main areas of intervention concerning migrant workers relate to the realization of recruitment and placement mechanisms that protect migrant workers.
In addition, skilled workforce migration is being prioritized, with a goal to increase the number of Indonesian migrant workforce, who have the skills and expertise that are in-line with market needs.
Report by ILO titled, ‘Decent Work for Indonesian Migrant Workers’ says, considering the scale of migration associated with the Indonesian workers, it is required for the country to be at the forefront of affairs to protect the interests and security of these foreign workers.
A careful review of the situation highlights a significant number of challenges as regards realisation of human rights. It is hence required of the government and organisations to invest in training programs for the migrant skilled workforce and ensure they match up to the industry standards.