The Indonesian Overseas Migrant Workers and the Role of E-Counseling in Taiwan

The Indonesian Overseas Migrant Workers and the Role of E-Counseling in Taiwan

Vincent Didiek Wiet Aryanto (Graduate School of Management, Soegijapranata Catholic University Indonesia, Bendan Duwur, Semarang, Indonesia) and Thomas Budi Santoso (Graduate School of Management, Soegijapranata Catholic University Indonesia, Bendan Duwur, Semarang, Indonesia)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/ijabe.2013010104
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Abstract

This study aims at revealing problems for sending the Indonesian Overseas Migrant Workers (IOMW) in Taiwan. Forty workers who got contract problems at the two shelter houses in Taichung and Taoyuan became respondents of this study. In addition, six resource persons had been interviewed to enrich this study. Findings can be identified as contract breaching between the employers or agencies with the workers, experiencing long work hours, improper working condition, inflicting sexual harassment etc. However, the workers could avail of the facilities provided by the Taiwan government and Indonesian consular office in Taipei in the form of e-counseling.
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Introduction

Mobility of population from rural to urban, from one city to another city, and from one province to another province is a common phenomenon in Indonesia. Sending IOMW (Indonesian Overseas Migrant Workers) to a foreign country is relatively new phenomenon on population mobility. The international mobility workers are not far different from the reasons for the mobility of the population in the country, such as low employment opportunities in the sending areas, a higher income in the receiving areas, and the shift of values in the rural communities made the workers unwilling to be in the traditional agricultural sector (Eki, 2002: Kelly, 2011).Until the year 2009-2010, the IOMW sending become bigger and more wide-ranging, not only to Middle-East countries but also to the various countries of South-East Asia and Pacific region, including to Taiwan.

Based on 2011 data from the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office in Taipei, IOMW who worked in Taiwan, both in the informal as well as in the manufacturing sector were much higher as compared with workers from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The amount of IOMWs, whether recognized or not, would cause complex problems for sending migrant workers conducted by various agencies. The results of previous studies found out that up to now, there has been no research that specifically examines the problems for sending IOMW to Taiwan. Three previous studies were found (Loveband, 2003; Graham, 2007; Liang, 2006), examined the presence of migrant workers from the aspect of gender, especially research on problems of women workers in Taiwan.

Migrant workers need protection between the sending state with the receiving state it is therefore necessary to have strategic policies as a shared umbrella among countries in the world. Accordingly, the United Nations as the world body insists some countries to ratify agreement as set out in United Nations Treaty to Protect Migrant Workers No.857 dated December 18, 2002. The substance of the agreement is: (a) the protection of the rights of migrant workers, (b) making standardization protection for migrant workers, and (c) promoting cooperation between countries to overcome the smuggling of illegal workers and trafficking children and women.

The agreement was signed by 98 countries and 33 other countries as observers. The agreement was later expanded to include the following: (a) upholding the dignity of migrant workers, (b) encouraging economic development through migration, (c) assisting the operational challenges of migration workers, and (d) advancing understanding of migration issues.

On July 1, 2003, the International Labor Organization (ILO) initiated an international convention on the protection of rights of migrant workers and their families. This convention is aimed at protecting migrant workers both in their own country (sending countries), the transit countries, and the state which is host countries. Unfortunately, this convention is only signed by 21 developing countries. Good agreement initiated by the UN and the ILO is now only followed by developing countries that send migrant workers abroad. So far, there are no industrialized countries ratify the convention. In addition, the Middle East countries which are Indonesia’s main sending destination are also not in the list of signatories to the convention.

The reason why industrial countries are reluctant to ratify the convention is first because of fears for further terrorism disguised as migrant workers and the possibility of legalizing migrant workers that do not have documents. Obviously, in the absence of industrialized countries participation, the convention will not be effective. Consequently, both the UN and the ILO must continue to promote the importance of the convention to the industrialized countries. Consider that the convention on human rights has become a convention that has been relatively universally accepted. It should also be seen that the migrant workers in industrialized countries have contributed to the development of the country.

Overall, a better understanding of the Convention and the implications of its ratification are required in both sending and receiving countries. There is confusion as to what the gains and losses are in case of ratification and it is assumed in both sending and receiving countries that the potential losses are greater than the gains. In addition, fears of ‘being first’ to ratify need to be addressed (Iredale et al., 2003).

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