BNP2TKI Upbeat Migrant Workers Will Pull In $10b by Year's End


OCTOBER 04, 2015

Jakarta. The Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers, known as BNP2TKI, has estimated remittance revenue from Indonesia's migrant workers will grow 19 percent this year as the government continues to develop programs improving financial literacy among migrant workers.

Remittance transfers from migrant workers were recorded at $8.4 billion last year and BNP2TKI expects the figure to grow to $10 billion this year.

"We are optimistic that as of December, remittance can reach $10 billion. If the government focuses on training candidates of migrant workers to improve their financial literacy, including requiring them to open a bank account under their name before they depart," BNP2TKI chief Nusron Wahid said in Jakarta on Saturday.

"It will be much better if we can empower their family [to be engaged] in productive investment, so that they are not consumptive [after receiving remittance]," said Nusron.

According to data from the central bank, as of July the strongest growth in remittances came from the Middle East, despite Indonesia having banned sending new workers to some gulf countries, Nusron said.

Meanwhile, remittance from Indonesia's closer neighbours, including from Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, did not grow as fast as the Middle East.

Nusron said the agency will study the data.

Financial literacy is only one problem facing Indonesian migrant workers — their most pressing issue is legal protection from abuses.

Considered as low skilled workers, many migrant workers from Indonesia, especially domestic helpers, have suffered abuses from their employers with a number of cases seeing criminal complaints made by victims.

In May this year, Indonesia moved to ban citizens from working as domestic helpers in 21 countries, mostly for countries in the Middle East, following abuses and executions by local authorities.

The countries on the blacklist of Indonesian government for sending maids include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, were in the past some of the largest markets for domestic helpers.

The Indonesian government put those countries on the blacklist after high profile beheading cases, including those of two women, 37-year-old Karni Binti Medi Tarsim and 47-year-old Siti Zaenab Binti Duhri Rupa — both working in Saudi — drew ire from the Indonesian public.