Indonesia plans recall of 700,000 workers from Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia beheaded two Indonesian women in cases that received widespread attention earlier this year. (Al Watan)
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Indonesia intends to recall some 700,000 workers mostly housemaids and drivers from the Kingdom within 15 months, Al-Hayat Arabic newspaper reported on Sunday quoting Indonesian government sources.
The sources said the decision to recall the manpower from the Kingdom is final and cannot be revoked.
Indonesia announced in May this year that it will stop fresh recruitment of maids to 21 countries in the Middle East.
The 21 countries include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo foreshadowed the move in February this year by announcing that he wanted to put an end to the export of the country’s female workers.
“The practice of Indonesian women going overseas to work as housemaids must stop immediately. We should have pride and dignity,” he was quoted as saying.
A transition period of three months was given at that time. Around 4,700 domestic workers in the process of being employed in the Middle East were allowed to travel. But those were the last batches. Maids already working in these 21 countries were allowed to finish their contracts.
Indonesia’s Manpower and Transmigration Ministry predicted that more than 67,000 Indonesian women will not go to work in the Middle East because of the ban.
The government is working to increase employment opportunities in Indonesia so women won’t feel compelled to go abroad for money, Manpower and Transmigration Minister Hanif Dhakiri was quoted as saying.
The government will continue sending women to work as maids to Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Brunei, where about 708,000 Indonesians work as maids. However, the government wants to train the women to specialize in tasks, such as caring for babies or cooking, rather than serving all purposes.
The government will also audit and accredit centers to ensure migrant workers know their rights before going abroad.
Millions of Indonesian migrant workers are employed in foreign countries, and in 2013 they sent home remittances worth more than $7.3 billion.
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