An Indonesian source has refuted rumors that Indonesian expatriates are banned from returning to their sponsors after their vacation in Indonesia.
The Indonesian government in May this year decided to stop Indonesian housemaids from going for work to 21 countries in the Middle East, the source said.
The decision reflects an order by President Joko Widodo in February to set a road map to eventually stop sending Indonesian women abroad to work as all-purpose maids.
However, the decision does not apply to those who already have a contract with their sponsors and have gone to Indonesia for holiday. It only applies to new applicants, said the source.
The Indonesian Expatriates Union and the Saudi National Recruitment Committee also reportedly disagreed on a number of points while negotiating new contracts conditions for Indonesian expatriates in Saudi Arabia, the source said, adding that the Indonesian Expatriate Union demanded a fixed salary of SR1,500 for Indonesian expatriates.
“The union also demanded a weekly day-off for housemaids and fixed working hours of six hours a day. The union also demanded that there should only be one Indonesian recruitment office dealing with Saudi recruitment companies,” said the source.
The source added the committee agreed on a minimum wage for Indonesian expatriates of SR1,000 and a maximum wage of SR1,900. But the committee refused to close recruitment offices.
The source also said the Indonesian government is studying the religious issues on women leaving their household and children behind to work in another country.
“The government asked its religious scholars if Indonesian women are allowed to travel without a megrim (male guardian) and without the permission of their husbands. The government is still studying the issue and will announce its decision soon,” said the source.
Out of a total of around 4.02 million Indonesian migrant workers in 2013, around 1.33 million were based in the Middle East and around 1.06 million of those were in Saudi Arabia, according to Indonesian government data. In that year, out of around $7.42 billion in remittances, around $2.18 billion came from the Middle East, the data show.
But while Indonesia is cutting off the flow of fresh workers to the region, it isn’t recalling the ones already there, essentially letting the numbers decline slowly by attrition.