Academic journal article Austrian Journal of South - East Asian Studies

Assets or Commodities? Comparing Regulations of Placement and Protection of Migrant Workers in Indonesia and the Philippines

Academic journal article Austrian Journal of South - East Asian Studies

Assets or Commodities? Comparing Regulations of Placement and Protection of Migrant Workers in Indonesia and the Philippines

Article excerpt

In labor-abundant countries, migrant workers are considered state assets and the government often calls them the 'economic heroes' of the nation. Yet by maximizing economic benefits, the protection of labor migrants is often neglected by both origin and host countries. The state's assumed presence in protecting its nationals is tied to its capacity to 'control' migration flows and protect its nationals abroad. Within this framework, the regulations concerning migrant workers' protection in Indonesia and the Philippines, which comprise the two largest exporters of migrant labor in South-East Asia, are assessed. This paper compares the two key laws in both countries: Indonesian Law No. 39/2004 and the Philippine Republic Act (RA) No. 10022. In this context, it also aims to answer the following question: Are Filipinos better protected than Indonesians? Looking specifically into the state and the economy, the history of workers' protection, and key aspects of the law, this paper recognizes several weaknesses of the Indonesian government's migrant workers protection scheme, especially in the aspects of educating workers and defining the responsibilities of government agencies. Thus, strong commitment from the government, along with close monitoring by civil society, is needed to ensure better protection for citizens.

Keywords: Indonesia; Labor Law; Labor Migration; Migrant Workers; Philippines

ln L?ndern mit vielen Arbeitskr?ften werden Arbeitsmigrantlnnen als staatliches Verm?gen angesehen und die Regierung bezeichnet sie oft als ?wirtschaftliche Helden" der Nation. Um den ?konomischen Nutzen zu maximieren, wird der Schutz von Arbeitsmigrantlnnen allerdings oft vernachl?ssigt, sowohl von Herkunfts- als auch von Ziell?ndern. Die vorausgesetzte Pr?senz des Staates im Schutz seiner B?r- gerinnen steht in Verbindung mit der Kapazit?t, Migrationsstr?me zu ?kontrollieren" und seine B?rge- rinnen im Ausland zu sch?tzen. In diesem Rahmen werden die gesetzlichen Bestimmungen bez?glich des Schutzes von Arbeitsmigrantlnnen in Indonesien und den Philippinen, die die zwei gr??ten Expor- teure von Arbeitsmigrantlnnen in S?dostasien darstellen, analysiert. Dieser Artikel vergleicht die beiden wichtigsten Gesetze in beiden L?ndern, das Indonesian Law No. 39/2004 und den Philippine Republic Act (RA) No. 10022. In diesem Kontext soll folgende Frage beantwortet werden: Sind Philippinerinnen besser gesch?tzt als Indonesierinnen? Durch einen genauen Blick auf den Staat und die ?konomie, auf die Geschichte des Arbeiterinnenschutzes sowie auf Schl?sselaspekte des Rechts, weist dieser Artikel auf zahlreiche Schw?chen des staatlichen Regelwerks zum Schutz von Arbeitsmigrantlnnen in Indonesien, insbesondere in der Ausbildung von Arbeiterinnen und in der Definition von Verantwortlichkeiten der staatlichen Beh?rden, hin. Verbindlichkeiten von Seiten der Regierung, zusammen mit engem Monito- ring von Seiten der Zivilgesellschaft, sind deshalb notwendig, um einen besseren Schutz der Bürgerinnen zu gewährleisten.

Schlagworte: Arbeitsmigrantlnnen; Arbeitsmigration; Arbeitsrecht; Indonesien; Philippinen

Our goal is to create jobs at home so that there will be no need to look for employment abroad. How- ever, as we work towards that end, I am ordering the DFA, POEA, OWWA, and other relevant agencies to be even more responsive to the needs and welfare of our overseas Filipino workers. (Aquino III, 2010)

My Government is intensifying cooperation with both domestic and foreign recruitment agencies, to ensure their safety of migration and also their protection in the host countries. (Yudhoyono, 2011)2

Introduction

Working abroad has become a means of escaping poverty in Asia. A large number of migrants have seen better opportunities in other countries compared to those at home which were limited, stagnant, or declining. This perception is popular in Indo- nesia and the Philippines, the two largest exporters of migrant workers in South-East Asia. …

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