Page 1



Involving Village Governments in the Protection of Migrant Workers In the deployment of migrant workers, villages become the primary recruiting ground targeted by labor sponsors/brokers. Due to weak government control, the recruitment process in most cases is rife with problems. An uninformed public also means reliance on information provided by the broker/sponsor/PPTKIS (private recruitment agency) that is typically inaccurate and misleading, thus documents can easily be falsified. On the other hand, village authorities are simply associated with the administrative requirement of ‘stamping” the necessary papers for the departure process. Villages in fact can play a more assertive role. Despite its administrative function, within the bureaucratic hierarchy, the village government is the closest to migrant workers and their overseas departure process. A Tifa-BNP2TKI-JSDF partnership program through the World Bank has highlighted on the following aspects essentially related to optimizing the role of village governments in protecting migrant workers: 1. A village regulation was intro-

duced to only confer village chiefs with the power to approve departures after consulting with the prospective migrant worker. Consultation is conducted by engaging family members of aspiring migrant workers for the purpose of educating migrant workers and verifying the credibility of brokers/sponsors and PPTKIS responsible for the recruitment. 2. Rampant falsification of identity papers for overseas recruitment purposes impedes protection and monitoring. Migrationrelated data collected and updated in a participatory manner jointly by the village government and community-based organizations—citizens’ organizations in migrant worker enclaves—shall facilitate monitoring and the provision of assistance in the event of unfavorable circumstances. Based on implementation experience, migration data held by the government differs from those recorded at the village level. In reference to the foregoing situation, the government and parliament should take into account several recommendations

to be adopted more comprehensively into policies and programs: 1. Recognize the role of village governments with regard to protection mechanisms established by the national government, including in relevant laws. 2. Insist that the national and subnational government assist villages in developing migration data in a participatory manner. A participatory process that involves CBOs is key to comprehensive and accountable data collection. 3. Foster cooperation between district and village governments in drafting village regulations in favor of protecting migrant workers. Partnerships allow village regulations to be extensively introduced across villages. Village regulations that are only enacted in a few villages open up opportunities for the falsification of documents in other villages with more lax regulations. Such cooperative ties also ensure that relevant local government agencies are informed and involved in the implementation of village regulations. 4. Urge that both national and subnational governments intensively and consistently provide updated information on safe migration to be disseminated to the public. Information released to the public should ideally include the list of PPTKIS and their performance. 5. Help villages build their capacity to put forward recommendations and provide consultation on safe migration to aspiring migrant workers.


Page 2

Encourage the Establishment of CBOs as a Form of Public Participation in Protecting Migrant Workers The fundamental principle of this program is to ensure that migrant workers become the subject of the development agenda. To this end, efforts should be made to organize and educate migrant worker communities

more, CBOs help strengthen the bargaining power of [aspiring] migrant workers toward brokers, sponsors, recruiters and local governments. CBOs also help migrant workers and their family members muster the courage and confidence to demand for their rights.

Before this program was implemented, many former migrant workers and their family members were unaware of their rights and the case-handling procedure. Postprogram impleto critically understand their rights as citizens and specif- mentation however, they have gained the necessary ically as migrant workers. knowledge on safe migraThrough the community tion. organizing process, CBOs have emerged to educate Through the hard work of village residents on the community groups, local rights of migrant workers, residents now have the safe migration procedure, courage to consult on and problem-solving processes report their cases. Paraleand for collecting migration gals will pass on the comdata. plaint to authorities. At CBOs also function as the economic engines of villages through group or collective enterprises. Further-

least 83 cases have been dealt with by paralegals from which 20 cases have been resolved and the

workers and their family members in dealing with various issues.

remaining still being processed. In Cilacap, the case in which the documents of a CBO member was withheld has prompted the PPTKIS withholding the papers to return the documents of 11 other migrant workers because the PPTKIS realized that CBO members do not act alone but collectively represent migrant workers as a group.

Based on this experience, recommendations that the government, civil society groups and donors can adopt include the following: 1.

Encourage community organizing and the establishment of groups to build their critical awareness and allow them to participate actively along with the government and other stakeholders in resolving various migrationrelated issues.


Promote empowerment programs for migrant workers not only economically but also in terms of their critical education as active citizens.

Milestones achieved by this program: 1.

CBOs for migrant workers and their family members have encouraged members to actively resolve their problems according to the proper procedure.


CBOs works closely with the village government to ensure protection for themselves during the migration process.


CBOs help educate others on their rights.


CBOs increase the bargaining power of migrant

Muhtamiroh, former migrant worker from Karangsembung Village, Nusawungu Sub-District, Cilacap

"My original school certificate was withheld by recruiter PT. PPU in Cilacap. They promised to return the document to my family once deductions to my salary has been made for the next seven months. They did not keep their promise. My husband was even asked to look for the certificate by himself at the recruitment agency, but to no avail. It was kept hidden. When I returned, I again asked the recruiter about my certificate, but they claimed that it could not be found. I became suspicious particularly when they offered me another overseas employment opportunity without having to present my school certificate. I was doubtful and had no idea on how to deal with my problem. Five years after my return, I joined a migrant worker community forum in Cilacap that receives facilitation from Lakpesdam and Tifa Foundation. I spoke out about my problem and then completed a complaint form. Along with my other colleagues, I brought my case to the Cilacap manpower and transmigration office, P4TKI Cilacap and other authorized parties. Five months after I filed the complaint, I was contacted by the recruitment agency. Without further ado, the recruiter handed over my certificate and the head of the recruiter’s branch office said, “Why must you report this. It could have been resolved amicably without making a formal complaint.". Following my complaint, the certificates of 10 other migrant workers who departed through the recruiter were also returned".


Page 3

Guaranteeing Access to Information for Migrant Workers Before making the decision to work overseas, prospective migrant workers ideally need to seek adequate information from reliable sources. Under this ideal scenario, aspiring migrant workers are aware of possible risks and benefits, as well the necessary documentation and other matters that need to be prepared prior to departure. This is expected to reduce migrant workers’ vulnerabilities. In practice however, information is not as readily accessible. One of the main sources of information is from the broker/sponsor/PPTKIS which is often not entirely accurate. In light of this, several initiatives have been taken. One of which is the establishment of Mahnettik or community technology center (CTC) that is expected to assist migrant workers and their family members in obtaining information through the

internet. In reality however, not much information is available online. This has inspired Tifa Foundation to help develop a migrant worker web portal at Based on Tifa’s experience, the following should be taken into account in order to maximize access to information for migrant workers:

arranging the necessary identity papers and other migration-related expenses  Migration financing mechanism  Job order  Published information on destination country  Insurance and claims procedure

broaden access to information on migrant workers to extend across regions that were once unreachable. PLIK can also be considered as a hub for online migration data collection.

Information should be 1. Ensure that every rele- made available in print vant government agency and online, easily acprovides information on cesible, by relevant instilabor migration accessi- tutions. Such information is currently not ble to the public. Basic available in the official information that should websites of the respecat least be made availative institution. ble include:

 List of PPTKIS and their track record, including performance assessments  Migration procedure  Breakdown of costs for

2. Integrate services from PLIK (sub-district internet service center) with information services for migrant workers. This is expected to

Prioritize Economic Empowerment Programs for Migrant Workers and Their Family Members and Ensure Routine Coordination 30% of migrant workers’ salary is spent on communication, and the rest for daily necessities, housing, children’s education and other consumption items. Repeat labor migration occurs due to absence of enough savings and investment for the future that cannot be gained without working overseas. This program therefore has achieved the following milestones: 1.Training on household financial management to help migrant workers and their family members better plan their finances and have productive savings.

2.Entrepreneurial training for migrant workers and their family members to help them establish collective small/mediumscale enterprises. From these activities, at least 700 people have been trained on financial management, and 151 now act as trainers themselves. Some 124 people have also been trained to pass on their knowledge on business planning to village residents. At least 87 collective enterprises have also merged at the rural level. One of the lessons learnt

is that collective enterprises can help initiate lifestyle changes in rural areas and break the migration cycle by opening up promising business opportunities.

agents of economic change for other villagers. 2.

Coordinate various community empowerment programs, specifically for migrant workers and their family members, in different state ministries/ institutions to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and accurate targeting according to the needs of migrant workers.


Push for the formation of integrated teams for coordinating empowerment programs intended for migrant workers and their family members.

Recommendations that the government can adopt are as follows: 1.

Prioritize migrant workers and their family members as the target group for change through economic empowerment programs. This is because they can become trendsetters or

Page 4


Importance of decentralizing power to build the capacity of migrant workers, and for handling cases which becomes the basis for a migration database for aggregation at the subdistrict, district, provincial and national level. As part of public service delivery, migration data should be integrated into the database on demographics and household resources. The provision of migration services should not be a standalone effort but an integral part of civil registry services. The centralized regulatory framework for the placement of migrant workers further reduces the powers of local governments. Several aspects burdensome for migrant workers and their family members include: 1)



synchronizing data held by BNP2TKI for verifying the accuracy of field data against BNP2TKI data. Based on reflections from paralegals involved in this program, the following actions are recommended: 1.

District governments should be authorized to conduct capacity building efforts (pre-departure education) based on an effective curriculum with competent instructors supported by adequate facilities and infrastructure.


District governments can accept and follow up on migration-related cases through cooperation with the provincial BP3TKI.


Village governments are given the authority to monitor and take the necessary action for preventing non-procedural migration processes.


Promote migration data services at the rural level integrated into the village administration system, civil registry and immigration services to ensure smooth inter-sectoral communication of data and information. This will help minimize the risk of data falsification and duplication, and facilitate data retrieval. This requires the involvement of the government at the central, provincial and local level.

Milestones achieved in this program include:

Pre-departure training. Migrant worker families must pay to visit their own relatives housed in PPTKIS placement centers prior to their overseas departure. This also increases placement cost borne by migrant workers. Case handling at the provincial and national level. Paralegals have complained of steep costs and a timeconsuming process in reporting a case with no guarantee of having it done in a single day.

Migration data remains overlapping among institutions and inaccurate. Migration-related public services should start from the village level

The district of Banyuwangi and BP3TKI Surabaya have agreed on the SOP for case handling whereby cases can be lodged to the Banyuwangi social affairs, manpower and transmigration office for follow-up by BP3TKI until resolution. Majasari village government has urged local residents and the village administration to keep track of the credibility of PPTKIS in recruiting migrant workers. CBOs collect migration data, later used by the village government. The database now serves as the basis for

Wartono SPd. MSi, Majasari Village Head, Sliyeg Sub-District, Indramayu

“I am a teacher, husband to a former migrant worker, and have even acted as a sponsor. When I was elected village chief, I became aware of numerous problems which later prompted me to issue a village regulation on the departure process. Before any departure, I will also consult with their family members to ensure that they understand the risks involved and their rights, and are aware of the track record of their recruitment company. It has not been easy however and now I am seen as obstructing those who want to depart for work abroad My intention in fact is to protect. The central or provincial government should make it possible for village governments to have the authority to protect their citizens which will allow the procedure that I have applied to be replicated in other places.”


Page 5

Promoting PPTKIS Transparency and Accountability Migrant worker placement is currently in the hands of the private recruitment agency or PPTKIS. This existing deployment process creates problems for migrant workers and their family members in program locations. 1.




Citizens have no easy access to visit their family members placed in temporary shelters. The education of prospective migrant workers remains focused on the provision of skills instead of their rights as migrant workers and how to deal with problems or a crisis situation. The implementation of the education process is also not being monitored. The presence of freelance brokers/ sponsors increases the risk of nonprocedural departures. Original documents are withheld by PPTKIS to coerce prospective migrant workers to depart

through the PPTKIS concerned. 5.

There are recruitment agencies unresponsive to public complaints.

To address these issues, this program has achieved the following milestones: 1.



ruled in favor of the victim/complainant who was still underaged. The broker/ sponsor was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison.

CBOs have identified and demanded recruiters to return withheld documents. This was a successful collective initiative as the bargaining power of CBOs/groups is more potent than making such demands individually. Raising awareness through CBOs on working abroad without going through brokers/sponsors, but directly through the local manpower and transmigration offices. Report on brokers/ sponsors who fail to deploy migrant workers through legal procedures. This was also a successful action where a specific case was


CBOs exerted pressure on PPTKIS by lodging a complaint to authorities if the recruiter fails to respond when a migrant worker has lost contact with relatives or has lost her personal or travel documents. This manner of group pressure was effective and the PPTKIS was quick to respond.

aspiring migrant workers make the least costly payment in compliance with government policies. 3.

Impose sanctions against PPTKIS or brokers who withhold original personal documents or other papers that a migrant worker should hold.


Urge village governments to desist from granting approval of any departure if the broker cannot present the recruitment permit from the local manpower and transmigration office, job order from PPTKIS, and formal employment contract from PPTKIS as its employee.


Urge the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration and its local offices, as well as village governments and CBOs to conduct public oversight of PPTKIS through web-based report card on PPTKIS, consumer com-

Recommendation: 1.


District governments need to integrate pre-departure education into the local education office’s program for out-of-school education which will be beneficial for every citizen seeking employment. Transparency and accountability from the government and PPTKIS to the public on placement costs to ensure that

The Experience of CBO Berkah Sejahtera, Adipala Sub-District, Cilacap When we received a complaint on loss of contact with a migrant worker lodged by her relatives, I called the PPTKIS that arranged for her departure in order to seek information on her whereabouts. The recruiter only provided a phone number which the company claimed was that of the migrant worker’s employer in Malaysia. It turned out to be a false phone number. I once again contacted the PPTKIS and complained that they had given me the wrong phone number. When I stated that I will report the recruiter through the proper channels if it still refuses to give the correct number, the company was not pleased and felt threatened. The PPTKIS eventually provided the correct phone number, thus resuming contact between migrant worker and her family members.

Migrant Worker Protection from the Village Level

YAYASAN TIFA Jl. Jaya Mandala II No. 14e Jakarta 12870

In c o ll a bor ati on with:

Phone: 021 - 829 2776 Fax: 021 - 837 83648 E-mail:


Summary of Recommendations DPR (House of Representatives): 1.



Revisions to Law No. 39/2004 need to incorporate the role and powers of the local government right through to the village level for overseeing the labor recruitment process, developing migration data integrated into the civil registry and taking the appropriate measures to prevent non-procedural migration. Field recruitment officers (brokers/sponsors) should be the permanent employees of PPTKIS. This is to ensure that PPTKIS can be held accountable for its actions. Revisions to Law No. 39/2004 need to push for the decentralization of powers with regard to the pre-departure process, monitoring and case handling.





Give priority to migrant workers and their family members as the target group for change through economic empowerment programs. This is because they can act as trendsetters/agents of economic change for other villagers. Coordinate various community empowerment programs, specifically for migrant workers and their family members, introduced by different state ministries/agencies to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and accurate targeting according to the needs of migrant workers.

Work with the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration and its local offices to provide casehandling services. Bring placement services closer to the district level (minimal) in order to help job seekers obtain proper services.

Ministry of Education and Culture: 1.

The capacity building of prospective migrant workers should be made available as part of education services for citizens, integrated into outof-school or vocational learning.

Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration:

Ministry of Communication and Informatics:


Allow the lodging of public complaints through web-based report card to monitor the track record of PPTKIS as the labor placement service provider and report card for assessing effectiveness of insurance schemes.



Continually and intensively provide updated information on safe migration and insurance claims procedure to be disseminated to the public. Information should ideally include the list of PPTKIS and their performance.


Encourage the role of local governments in pre-departure education and ensure that the curriculum builds migrant workers’ understanding of their rights and become active and critical citizens.

Coordinating Ministry of People’s Welfare: 1.

at the village level integrated into the village administration system, civil registry and immigration services to ensure smooth communication of inter-sectoral data and information. This reduces the risk of data falsification and duplication, and facilitates data retrieval. The involvement of the government at the central, provincial and local level is also necessary.

Push for the establishment of an integrated team for coordinating empowerment programs for migrant workers and their family members to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.

Ministry of Home Affairs: 1.

Push for migration data services


Ensure that every relevant government agency provides easily accessible print and online information on labor migration. Basic information should at least include the list of PPTKIS and their track record, and performance assessment; migration procedure; breakdown of costs for arranging identity documents and other migration-related expenses; migration financing mechanism; job order; published information on destination country; insurance and claims procedure. Integrate PLIK (sub-district internet center) services with information delivery for migrant workers. This is expected to ensure that information on migrant workers is accessible to regions previously unreachable. PLIK can also serve as a hub for online migration data collection.

Migrant Worker Protection From the Village Level