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Chaotic statistics of Indonesian migrant workers

The Jakarta Post - January 27, 2012. "Indonesia has become one of the biggest migrant-sending countries in Asia after Sri Lanka and the Philippines (Hugo, 2009). But, are we aware of how many Indonesians are working abroad? No one probably knows the exact answer. Estimates of the total number of migrant workers vary from 4 million (The Jakarta Post, 2012), 4.1 million (Bank Indonesia, 2011), to 6 million (Kompas, 2011). Meanwhile, the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) only reports very outdated figures of migrant flows for August 2007 and the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry’s website reports deployments from 2007 to 2009."

"Is it so difficult to generate timely and accurate statistics of migrant workers? Before coming to that discussion, it is worth reviewing the institutions responsible for producing information on migrant workers.

First and foremost is BNP2TKI. With 19 provincial representatives (BP3TKI) and 14 representatives at the regency level (P4TKI), BNP2TKI should be able to provide monthly data on officially deployed migrant workers. It records broader information collected at the point of departure and the point of entry back into Indonesia.

Second is the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, whose information comes from private recruitment agencies (PPTKIS). Article 14 of Law No. 39/2004 on the protection and placement of migrant workers grants the ministry the power to request reports from PPTKIS at regular intervals prior to approval of PPTKIS permit extensions.

Third, the Transportation Ministry has data on workers aboard foreign commercial ships, but irregularly shares the data.

Fourth, the Law and Human Rights Ministry, through the immigration office, retains individual records of the workers since it differentiates migrants’ passports from common ones.

Fifth, the Foreign Affairs Ministry by means of the Indonesian embassies and consular offices also store such data.

Sixth, the Communication and Information Ministry has been preparing an online information system for migrant workers since 2008. Since the system totally relies on the data contributed by the relevant institutions, it has not progressed well.

According to Law No. 39/2004, the institutions in charge of keeping the information on workers are PPTKIS, local governments through registration (Articles 22 and 36) and Indonesian embassies (Articles 71 and 74). The law does mention information systems, but it is unclear about the integration of data collected by various institutions.

It should come as no surprise that the existing statistics have no information on the migrants’ provinces and districts of origin. This is because the data is only disaggregated based on the placement unit.

For example, 2007 data only ranked Bandung as the seventh highest placement unit below Jakarta; Nunukan, East Kalimantan; Surabaya, East Java; Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB); Tanjung Pinang, Riau; and Semarang, Central Java.

Jakarta — home to 90 percent of PPTKIS — has continuously been the highest contributor to migrant worker outflows from 2007 to 2009. It serves as the transit area particularly for workers heading to Saudi Arabia. Workers from all over Indonesia come to Jakarta to undergo training and obtain work certificates before applying for Saudi visas."

[...] Read the full story in THE JAKARTA POST


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