Resource Manuals Target Millions of Indonesian Overseas Workers

Labour Migration

Indonesia - Efforts to reduce the vulnerability of Indonesia’s vast migrant labour force received a boost this week with the release of six new resource books for overseas workers produced by IOM and Indonesia’s national agency tasked with their wellbeing.

The Country Specific Guides provide detailed information into everything from local geography, politics and currencies, to the proper way to complete an immigration arrival form, report a crime to the police or contact an advocacy group in the event that the worker runs into trouble with an employer.

“Knowledge is power and in this case critical to the protection and well-being of the roughly six million Indonesian overseas workers, who are often unaware of local laws and cultural beliefs and practices, as well as some of the dangers inherent in the whole migration experience,” IOM Chief of Mission Mark Getchell said this week during the launch of the manuals.

"These books will help migrant workers better adjust to unfamiliar circumstances, to enjoy a rewarding and dignified work environment, to have their own rights respected and, ultimately, to arrive safely back home in Indonesia after a successful, fulfilling work experience abroad,” he added.

Produced with the assistance of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the books are the product of the European Union-funded SAFE Project collaboration between IOM and the National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers (BNP2TKI). The launch event was supported by the US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

The first batch of 6,000 manuals is for overseas workers travelling to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Canada. The next round of country guides (Japan, Brunei, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Russia) is currently being developed.

“We appreciate the long cooperative relationship we’ve enjoyed with IOM for the sake of the migrant workers, and the initiative to produce these books,” said BNP2TKI first secretary Hermono, who like many Indonesians only uses one name.

“BNP2TKI is committed to preparing and equipping workers to be more independent and to help them protect themselves.”

Launch event host Atma Jaya Catholic University rector Dr. Agustinus Prasetyantoko said the empowerment of Indonesia’s workforce is critical, as cross-border traffic between Southeast Asian neighbours increases in the future.

"We have a lot of work ahead, preparing our migrant workers for the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community era, which presents many opportunities to increase Indonesia's economic growth," he said. "In this case we need to empower our workers with the knowledge and skills they need to be productive in their new roles as overseas workers.”

For further information, please contact Paul Dillon at IOM Jakarta, Tel. +62.8119444612, Email: