Supporting Local Government in the Governance of Overseas Employment

Palmira Permata Bachtiar
Policy brief SMERU Research Institute • September 2011 Indonesia


Indonesia faces enormous challenges in emigration governance. With an annual placement of not less than half a million people, three quarters of whom are women working in the domestic sphere, overseas employment is indeed a task too huge for the central government to handle alone. More often than seldom, the issues of human rights emerge in combination with the massive outflow of migrant workers. Overseas employment itself is a long and complex process which involves the authority at the village, kabupaten/kota (district/city), provincial, national level up to the one at the destination country. The Head of the National Agency for Placement and Protection of Indonesia Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) admitted that 80% of the problems facing migrant workers are encountered domestically (BNP2TKI, 2009). Problems such as identity fraud, cheating, extortion, detention, etc. occur at the sending villages and kabupaten/kota, beyond the span of control of the central government. Therefore, they should be best dealt with by the local government. The local government has its own interest in protecting the migrant workers. First, the remittance is much more significant locally than nationally, particularly in migrant source kabupaten/kota. For example, at the national level remittance only contributed to 1.6% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 (Ananta, 2009).2 In Kabupaten Blitar and Ponorogo, the ratio of remittance to the gross regional domestic product (GRDP) reached 4.4% and 6.3% respectively in 2006. In Kabupaten Lombok Barat, the ratio in 2006 is even more spectacular, reaching 24.3% (Bachtiar, 2011a). Second, the social costs of emigration, such as family cohesion and juvenile delinquency are also more significant at the local level than at the national level. Therefore, providing services and protecting the migrant workers should be the main priority of the local government so as to maximize the advantages and minimize the disadvantages of emigration.




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