Ministry of Manpower takes steps to protect Overseas Workers during the pandemic

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Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah. (Photo: Biro Humas KEMENAKER)

IO – The Ministry of Manpower has taken various strategic steps to mitigate and handle the return of Indonesian Overseas Workers from their countries of employment in border areas and overseas worker bases, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister of Manpower Ida Fauziyah stated that according to Law Number 18 of 2017 concerning the Protection for Indonesian Overseas Workers, the Central Government shares the duty and responsibility to manage the return of overseas workers to the homeland in cases of war, natural disaster, disease, deportations, and problematic overseas workers, with Provincial Governments, Regency Governments, and Municipal Governments. 

“Since 23 March 2020, the Ministry of Manpower has been coordinating with the Ministry of Health to arrange for health checks in the point of debarking for returning overseas workers. Our correspondence is followed up by a Circular of the Director General of Disease Prevention and Control that is sent to all Harbor Health Offices on 27 March,” Minister Ida stated during a Joint Work Meeting between the Ministry and Commission IX of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) in the Senayan Parliamentary Complex, Jakarta, on Monday (24/05/2021). 

Another step taken by the Ministry of Manpower to protect our overseas workers includes coordinating with the Attaché of Manpower in 12 RI Representative Offices abroad, to request that overseas workers coming home report their return, whether offline in the usual Embassy or Immigration offices or online using Google form. “We also coordinate with the National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers (Badan Perlindungan Pekerja Migran Indonesia – “BP2MI”) and the local Manpower Offices to handle the arrival of overseas workers back to the homeland and their return to their hometowns or villages,” Minister Ida said. 

An important role performed by the Ministry of Manpower is coordinating all Head of Manpower Offices at Provincial, Regency, and Municipal levels to record the data of returning overseas workers, monitor the health of these workers with the help of local Health Offices, and request former overseas workers register in empowerment programs. Another protective step is providing primary necessity aids to overseas workers who caught COVID-19 in the countries they are being employed in, and allocating job opportunity expansion programs to workers, candidate workers, and their family members. The programs are infrastructure job-intensive programs in productive work, business incubation, effective technology, and independent work. 

Minister Ida reiterates that the Ministry has given Manpower Offices aid to help them return former overseas workers to return to their respective hometowns and villages. 

“The Ministry of Manpower has also requested the Indonesian Overseas Workers Protection (Perlindungan Pekerja Migran Indonesia – “PPMI”) Task Force to standby at debarking points to monitor the workers’ arrival, specifically to those in the Manpower Offices of Riau Island, Batam, East Java, and Sanggau,” she said. 

Separately, the BP2MI stated that at least 49,682 Indonesian Overseas Workers have returned to the homeland between April to May 2021. Head of BP2MI Benny Rhamdani stated in an interview in early May (05/05/2021) that these workers returned because their work contract period has ended. “Most of these overseas workers returned after their job stint in Malaysia was over (15,206 persons). The country that returned the second-highest numbers of our overseas workers is Taiwan (13,649 persons), followed by Hong Kong (12,577), Singapore (2,697), South Korea (2,277), and Saudi Arabia (1,262 persons).” (eka)