Ban on recruiting Indonesian maids”

Feb

19

2015

A TWO-MONTH ban on the recruitment of domestic workers from Indonesia comes into effect next month.

Indonesian housemaids will be prevented from travelling to Bahrain for work between March 1 and April 30.

The move is intended to stop Bahrain being used as a waypoint for those recruiting housemaids from Indonesia for employment in other countries in the region.

Authorities in Jakarta banned the recruitment of Indonesian housemaids to work in Saudi Arabia in 2011, after Indonesian maid Ruyati binti Satubi was beheaded for stabbing her employer to death there.

The ban was then extended to Qatar, Jordan, the UAE and Kuwait following allegations of abuse and unfair treatment in those countries, but Bahrain and Oman remained unaffected.

However, Indonesian maids continue to be sought around the region because they often speak Arabic and are familiar with Muslim religious practices.

‘We are currently investigating three cases related to trafficking of housemaids from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia and another two cases related to manpower agents in Manama illegally supplying workers outside Bahrain,’ an Indonesian Embassy spokesman told the GDN.

The move follows calls by Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo a week earlier for the country’s female workforce to stop travelling abroad to work as domestic help.

Mr Widodo said there were 2.3 million Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines alone, but around 1.2m were illegal and considered ‘problematic workers’.

The spokesman for the Indonesian Embassy said the temporary ban on recruiting from Bahrain would give authorities in Jakarta an opportunity to come up with solutions.

He added the ban could be extended if more time was needed.

‘We will be holding talks with key officials to come up with a solution in these two months and, if we don’t, the ban will be further extended,’ he said.

The decision will not affect housemaids already working in Bahrain, the recruitment of other skilled Indonesian workers nor visa procedures for Indonesian businessmen.

It means those wishing to hire housemaids from Indonesia must submit paperwork to the Indonesian Embassy no later than February 26, since the last two days of the month fall on a weekend.

The embassy spokesman said the move was part of efforts to tackle problems associated with undocumented Indonesian workers and prevent abuse, including non-payment of salaries.

‘One of the main problems we face is related to runaway housemaids who end up committing illegal activities,’ he said.

He added Jakarta wanted to restrict the recruitment of Indonesian housemaids only to those countries that had signed agreements with Indonesia to protect its citizens.

‘We are also holding talks with LMRA (Labour Market Regulatory Authority) officials to finalise a draft, which promotes the recruitment of skilled workers in Bahrain,’ he said.

More than 10,000 Indonesians, most of them housemaids, live in Bahrain according to embassy statistics.

In: News Asked By: [475 Blue Star Level]

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