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Indonesia reopens migrant worker placement to boost economy amid coronavirus pandemic

/ 02:09 PM August 03, 2020

Indonesian migrant workers from East Java occupy a rented house in Klang Lama, Kuala Lumpur on March 27. Indonesian workers in Malaysia have faced difficulties providing for themselves after Malaysia declared a lockdown, locally known as a movement control order (MCO), to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. (Antara/Agus Setiawan) via The Jakarta Post

JAKARTA — The Manpower Ministry has announced that it will reopen recruitment and placement of Indonesian migrant workers in a bid to strengthen the country’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 20, the ministry issued a regulation to temporarily halt the placement of migrant workers in foreign countries due to COVID-19 pandemic. A new ministerial regulation, issued on July 29, lifts the restriction.

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“To accelerate the recovery of the national economy and seeing that several countries have also reopened to foreign workers, it is necessary for us to also reopen the opportunity for our migrant workers to work in destination countries,” Manpower Minister Ida Fauziyah said on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.

Ida said 88,973 migrant workers were ready to be sent abroad to 14 countries, namely Algeria, Australia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Kuwait, Maldives, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Poland, Qatar, Taiwan, Turkey, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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“The potential remittances from the migrant workers is quite large and is expected to boost the economic recovery,” she said.

Ida added that the government and state-owned lender Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) would bear the costs of COVID-19 tests for the migrant workers.

“I have already met with the coordinating human development and cultural affairs minister as well as the health minister to allocate some funds from the COVID-19 task force, so that migrant workers will not be burdened by the fees to meet the health protocol requirements,” she said.

According to data from the ministry’s Indonesian Migrant Workers Protection Agency (BP2MI), as many as 3,742,440 Indonesian migrant workers abroad sent home a total of Rp 160 trillion (US$10.9 billion) in remittances in 2019.

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TAGS: Business, coronavirus, Coronavirus Outbreak, coronavirus pandemic, COVID-19, economy, Indonesia, Labor, Manpower, migrant workers, Remittances
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