Providing better protection for Indonesian domestic migrant domestic workers in Malaysia

Malaysia is an important country of destination for migrant domestic workers, the majority of which are from Indonesia. The Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources reported that as at June 2013, there were 180,000 documented migrant domestic workers in Malaysia.

Press release | Jakarta, Indonesia | 03 November 2015
JAKARTA (ILO News): Malaysia is an important country of destination for migrant domestic workers, the majority of which are from Indonesia. The Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources reported that as at June 2013, there were 180,000 documented migrant domestic workers in Malaysia.

Scarcity of work in their local surroundings, low income in the informal sector and having a family to take care of are the main reasons for Indonesian women to leave their families to seek employment overseas. Malaysia is a popular destination because there is a high demand for domestic work, and it is close to Indonesia, in terms of geography, culture and language.

It is the ILO’s great pleasure to bring together constituents and key stakeholders from Indonesia and Malaysia to review the results of the research on the actual conditions of recruitment and employment of migrant domestic workers. I believe these information will foster healthy dialogue among relevant stakeholders from the two countries, aimed to ensure better access for all migrant domestic workers to decent work and labour rights protection."

Francesco d’Odivido, Country Director of the ILO in Indonesia
To conduct further dialogue on the situation and working condition of Indonesian migrant domestic workers in Malaysia, the International Labour Organization (ILO) is organizing a two-day Binational Workshop on Labour Migration in Domestic Work from 3-4 November in Jakarta. The Workshop is conducted by the ILO through its Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and Their Families and Tripartite Action for the Protection and Promotion of the Right of Migrant Workers in the ASEAN Regional (ASEAN Triangle) project.

During the workshop, key findings of the two latest research on the actual conditions of recruitment and employment of migrant domestic workers in Indonesia and Malaysia. The findings are expected to provide a better understanding on the recruitment and working conditions of migrant domestic workers, the risks of forced labour and trafficking they face, and the degree to which employers in Malaysia are complying with Memorandum of Understanding between Government of Indonesia and Government of Malaysia.

In Indonesia, the research was conducted in five provinces of Indonesia: East Java, West Kalimantan, East Nusa Tenggara and Riau Islands. East Java, West Kalimantan and East Nusa Tenggara provinces are known as origin areas of Indonesian migrant workers and representing specific characteristics of both western and eastern part of Indonesia. Meanwhile, Riau Islands is known for its protection house and trauma centre for abused returned domestic migrant workers.

Using interviews and focus group discussions, the research covers six main labour migration issues as the following: Socio-economic profiles, recruitment channels, points of vulnerabilities in the labour migration process to Malaysia, coping mechanism when dealing with exploitation, repatriation and reintegration and pattern of remittance as well as economic condition upon return.

Francesco d’Odivido, the new Country Director of the ILO in Indonesia, stated that the ILO, together with its social partners, is committed to improve working conditions of Indonesian migrant workers, particularly migrant domestic workers, both in Indonesia and in destination countries.

“It is the ILO’s great pleasure to bring together constituents and key stakeholders from Indonesia and Malaysia to review the results of the research on the actual conditions of recruitment and employment of migrant domestic workers. I believe these information will foster healthy dialogue among relevant stakeholders from the two countries, aimed to ensure better access for all migrant domestic workers to decent work and labour rights protection,” he added.

Around 75 participants from relevant stakeholders from both Indonesia and Malaysia attend the workshop. The participants are from government agencies, employment providers, workers’ organizations, national and international organizations from both countries.

Funded by the European Union, the ILO’s Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and Their Families is designed to improve the protection of migrant domestic workers through knowledge development, capacity building, and exchange of experiences among ILO constituents and key stakeholders.

The ILO’s Tripartite Action for the Protection and Promotion of the Right of Migrant Workers in the ASEAN Regional (ASEAN Triangle) project, funded by the Canada Government, supports the ASEAN process and ASEAN countries in addressing issues of vulnerable migrant workers, including domestic workers.

For further information please contact:

Sinthia Harkrisnowo
National Project Coordinator
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Dyah Retno Sudarto
Programme Officer
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Gita Lingga
Media Relations Officer
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