Friday, December 1, 2023 | 04:14 WIB

Improving migrant workers’ protection and productivity

Jakarta, IO – The 43rd ASEAN Summit is officially concluded, resulting in 90 documents, two of which – that Indonesia initiated – are about employment. The Indonesian Manpower Minister highly commends the two final documents. 

In the Manpower Ministry’s Public Relations Bureau release, the Manpower Minister stated that the two guidelines are concrete evidence that ASEAN countries share the same vision to improve the region and make ASEAN an epicenter of growth. 

These two documents are the ASEAN Declaration on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Family Members in Crisis Situations and the ASEAN Declaration on Promoting Competitiveness, Resilience and Agility of Workers for the Future of Work. 

In my opinion, the two documents are essential to encourage real protection for Indonesian migrant workers employed in ASEAN countries (and their families), in order to ensure an increase in the productivity of the workers so that they can compete with counterparts from other ASEAN countries and increase investment into Indonesia. 

For the first document, I hope that all ASEAN countries can support the protection of Indonesian migrant workers, and become more responsive, so that the Indonesian Government can ensure that all migrant workers are documented. Undocumented workers must become officially-documented workers. This is the starting point for improving migrant workers’ protection. Without access and data, upgrading migrant workers will be too challenging. Not to mention that during times of crisis like COVID-19, migrant workers’ protection failed to reach all workers, due to a lack of access and data. 

This first document should not only be positioned for emergencies, but also cover protection in general conditions, considering that migrant workers’ protection in ASEAN countries is still weak. 

With this document, the Indonesian Government and other ASEAN Governments are expected to collaborate in implementing real protection for migrant workers, covering areas including employment, wages, social security, law, health and safety at work and so on. Protection should also extend to work placement, contract extension and return to the home country. 

In terms of the social security employment program, BPJS Ketenagakerjaan (Workers’ Social Security Agency) should be encouraged to open offices in destination countries to optimize participation, services and benefits. Education and socialization of social security employment programs will be expedited. Migrant workers will also be facilitated in accessing employment social security membership, extension of membership and services and benefits when they face work-related incidents. 

Inasmuch as Work-Related Accident Insurance and Death Insurance programs are mandatory programs for all migrant workers, and they can participate in the Old-Age Insurance program, BPJS Ketenagakerjaan will be able to increase participation, so that all migrant workers are covered by BPJS Ketenagakerjaan. 


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