5,700 Indonesian Workers Repatriated

JAKARTA

The Social Affairs Ministry has repatriated 5,700 troubled Indonesian Migrant Workers (TKI) since January 2012.

“Thousands of our troubled workers abroad, mostly in Malaysia, have been sent back home,” said Akifah Elansary, the Social Affairs Ministry’s director of social protection for migrant workers and victims of violence, here.

He noted that most of the troubled workers were repatriated from Malaysia because they were involved in trafficking and had themselves entered the country illegally.

Besides repatriating such workers, Akifah added, the Social Affairs Ministry also repatriated Indonesian citizens whose residence permits had expired.

A total of 1,900 citizens will be repatriated from Saudi Arabia during the October 17-21 period, he stated.

The Ministry had set itself a target to repatriate 11,000 troubled TKIs every year, allocating Rp9 billion from the state budget for that purpose, Akifah continued.

“However, up to October 2012, we have repatriated only 5,700 TKIs and spent just Rp4 billion from our budget. It is far from our target, but is still a successful effort because the number of the troubled Indonesian workers abroad has significantly decreased,” he explained.

According to Akifah, the Ministry has repatriated some 10,000 workers every year since 2004.

During the 2005-11 period, the Social Affairs Ministry repatriated 185,083 troubled workers by spending a total of Rp127.4 billion.

Under the Productive Economic Business (UEP) programme, the ministry offered Rp3 million per person to help repatriated workers make a new beginning at home, Akifah said.

The UEP was mainly distributed in areas that had become TKI pockets, he pointed out.

Since 2010, some 11,000 repatriated workers benefited from the UEP programme, which was considered a success because those who received the funds no longer want to be TKI.

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