Workshop in Jakarta Highlights Indonesian Migrant Worker Issues

Workshop in Jakarta Highlights Indonesian Migrant Worker Issues

What you need to know

There are more than 200,000 Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan. What are the problems they face and what should they keep an eye out for?

The Global Workers’ Organization, Taiwan (GWO) on Sept. 10 held a workshop in Jakarta to discuss issues that Indonesian migrant workers may face in Taiwan and other countries. Various organizations, including Antara News, DaAi Television, the National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers and Center for Servicing, Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers Jakarta, took part in the event, along with more than 100 Indonesians who are about to work overseas.

One speaker at the 2015 GWO Migrant Worker Media Workshop said that from her experience reporting on Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan, workers should go through their contracts thoroughly when applying for jobs overseas to ensure their rights are being protected. The speaker also said that a willingness to learn also helps in career development after returning to Indonesia.

GWO member Sun Pei-shan (孫珮珊) said submissions to the GWO Taiwan Migrant Video Awards show that increasingly more Indonesian migrant workers use electronic devices to record their current situation or the problems they face.

Narsidah, a representative of the Indonesian migrant worker organization SURNI, reminded those who are about to travel abroad to keep a goal in mind when working overseas. She also encouraged them to get involved in migrant worker organizations in case they run into difficulties.

Bobby, a representative of the Indonesian Migrant Workers Union (IMWU), says migrant workers should pay attention to the traditions and laws of the country they will be working in. For example, in Saudi Arabia, it might be inappropriate for workers to smile at their employers.

Tan Yun-fu (譚雲福), of Radio Taiwan International, says that because the Taiwanese government is enhancing protection for migrant workers, these people can work and learn other skills, such as Chinese language, at the same time. This will make it easier for the workers to find a job when they return to their own country or at Taiwanese companies in Indonesia.

According to Taiwan's Ministry of Labor, 170,000 Indonesians work as domestic workers in Taiwan, 79% of the total number of migrant workers from Indonesia. These workers are usually caretakers for the elderly and play a crucial role in the nation’s long-term care system.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole