Labour migration

Making the best use of digitalization to promote decent work for migrant workers

Digital technology continues to expand and integrate the world in new and innovative ways. Relevant stakeholders in Indonesia discussed how to to maximize the use of technology to promote decent work for migrant workers at the preparatory meeting for the 11th of the ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) in Singapore.

News | Jakarta, Indonesia | 02 October 2018
A language training for Indonesian migrant workers before departure (c) ILO/A. Mirza
The AFML is an open platform for the review, discussion, and exchange of good practices and ideas between governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, as well as civil society on key issues facing migrant workers in Southeast Asia. Held annually, the 11th AFML will be conducted on 29-30 October in Singapore. In line with Singapore’s 2018 Chairmanship theme of “Resilience and Innovation”, this year’s AFML theme focuses on digitalization to promote decent work for migrant workers in ASEAN.

In addition to mobile remittances by the Central Bank of Indonesia, the Ministry of Manpower has developed an online application named ‘TKI Keren’ (Cool Migrant Workers in English) that provides access to employment information directly to the migrant workers and eliminates the middlemen."

Erwina W. Hendarti, Head of Unit of Inter-agency Cooperation of the Directorate of Placement and Protection of Migrant Workers of Ministry of Manpower
The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower hosted the Indonesia National Tripartite Preparatory Meeting in Jakarta on 27 September to discuss the 11th ASEAN Forum on Migrant Labour (AFML) and prepare national recommendations on how to utilize digitalization to promote decent work for migrant workers.

In line with this year’s theme, Erwina W. Hendarti, Head of Unit of Inter-agency Cooperation of the Directorate of Placement and Protection of Migrant Workers of Ministry of Manpower, presented initiatives taken by the Indonesian government to utilize digital technology as means to provide better services and protection to Indonesian migrant workers.

“In addition to mobile remittances by the Central Bank of Indonesia, the Ministry of Manpower has developed an online application named ‘TKI Keren’ (Cool Migrant Workers in English) that provides access to employment information directly to the migrant workers and eliminates the middlemen,” explained Erwina in her opening remarks.

The Opening of the Indonesia National Tripartite Preparatory Meeting in Jakarta
Michiko Miyamoto, ILO Country Director for Indonesia, emphasized the importance of digitalization in advancing decent work and the protection of the rights of migrant workers. “Digitalization and online networks can strengthen services provided to migrant workers and strengthen migration management,” she said.

Digitalization and online networks can strengthen services provided to migrant workers and strengthen migration management."

Michiko Miyamoto, ILO Country Director for Indonesia
During the workshop, the participants further discussed and reviewed the two subthemes of this year’s AFML: digitalization of migrant labour management; and digital services to migrant workers. Best practices from other neighbouring countries related to the subthemes were also shared.

Marja Paavilainen, Senior Programme Officer of TRIANGLE in ASEAN, presented an initiative on migration e-governance by the Philippines Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA). OWWA developed an online platform E-CARES for management of membership profiles and provision of welfare assistance, pre-departure training, complaints support and other services for their 8 million Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) members. In addition, she shared the online recruitment platforms developed in Hong Kong which connect migrant workers and potential employers.

She also introduced TRIANGLE in ASEAN’s new web-based remittance cost comparison portal, SaverAsia. “This platform will be launched at the AFML in Singapore. The platform enables migrant workers in ASEAN to find the best rates and money saving options for sending their remittances home. It also helps migrants make informed decisions to improve their financial health,” said Marja.

This platform, SaverAsia, will be launched at the AFML in Singapore. The platform enables migrant workers in ASEAN to find the best rates and money saving options for sending their remittances home. It also helps migrants make informed decisions to improve their financial health."

Marja Paavilainen, Senior Programme Officer of TRIANGLE in ASEAN
In interactive sessions during the workshop, participants discussed both the benefits and challenges of digitalization to labour migration. Some challenges identified included limited access to digital technology in some areas, particularly rural and village areas, barriers limiting migrant workers from keeping their mobile phones in work environments, and less access to technology and internet in destination countries.

The meeting concluded with a list of eight recommendations from the tripartite stakeholders. The recommendations cover both AFML subthemes, and include a focus on improving coordination and information dissemination of digital tools, streamlining services into one digital platform, and increasing access to mobile phones and digital literacy trainings for migrant workers. These recommendations will be presented by Indonesia’s delegates at the AFML in Singapore, before the AFML decides on its final recommendations on digitalization to promote decent work for migrant workers in ASEAN.

In addition to Indonesia, similar national tripartite preparatory meetings have been held in seven other ASEAN Member States. These workshops were supported by the ILO through its TRIANGLE in the ASEAN programme, which is a partnership between the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the ILO. TRIANGLE in ASEAN delivers technical assistance and support at regional and national levels with the overall goal of maximizing the contribution of labour migration to equitable, inclusive, and stable growth in ASEAN.