Jakarta. The Indonesian consulate in Hong Kong told employers on Thursday to refrain from taking their Indonesian workers to China.
"Considering the current coronavirus outbreak and Hong Kong government policies, we've asked workers' agencies and employers to refrain from taking Indonesian workers on trips to [mainland] China," consul Ricky Suhendar said in a statement.
"If there were [Indonesian] workers already in China, their agencies or employers must return them to Hong Kong immediately," he said.
The consul made the call when the Hong Kong administration announced it would shut down entry points on its borders with the mainland by midnight on Thursday.
Many Indonesian workers in Hong Kong traveled to the mainland frequently with their employers. In some cases, the workers ended up also working there.
Two years ago, the consulate uncovered the practice after receiving requests from the workers for new passports a long time before they expired.
As it turned out, the workers were forced to make the requests because their 48-page passports were quickly filled with Chinese immigration stamps from traveling so frequently to the mainland from Hong Kong.
According to Hong Kong's manpower regulations, a migrant worker can only work at one address only.
Ricky warned that ignoring the rule could put the Indonesian workers at risk of losing their insurance protection.
According to data from the consulate, there are around 180,000 Indonesian workers in Hong Kong today.
The special administrative region is battling against the spread of the coronavirus after at least 10 of its residents were infected.