Ministry to renew data on Indonesian nationals overseas

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The ministries of Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs, Immigration Office, as well as Indonesian Migrant Workers Placement and Protection Agency (BNP2TKI), will renew the database of Indonesian nationals living overseas, including the migrant workers, in 2018, a high-ranking official stated here on Monday.

"The new database, which would be set up next year, would be integrated with the data owned by the Immigration Office, the Home Affairs Ministry, as well as the Migrant Workers Protection Agency," the Foreign Affairs Ministrys Indonesian Nationals Protection Director Lalu Muhammad Iqbal stated after attending the Indonesian Diaspora Global Summit.

The database update remains important for the stakeholders because the Indonesian government does not have a credible information on the number of Indonesian nationals overseas.

"As part of the ministrys single database policy, this project is aimed to improve the efforts to protect our citizens abroad," Iqbal remarked, while adding that an updated database would play a crucial role in terms of early protection policies.

According to the ministrys record in "E-Perlindungan" system, about 2.9 million Indonesian nationals now live overseas, but compared to about 17 to 20 thousand reports submitted to the ministrys system, only one third of the applicants are documented in the existing database.

"Hence, we assume that the number of Indonesian living overseas could be thrice greater than 2.9 million or around nine million people," Iqbal noted, while adding that the ministry was still deciding on whether to include the citizens who had been living abroad for six months or one year.

"We already have a special scheme for frequent travelers," he added.

During the forum, Iqbal noted that about 80 percent of 9 million of Indonesian nationals overseas are migrant workers.

"Around 70 percent of the migrant workers are the low-skilled labors," he remarked.

Therefore, several strategies have been set by the ministry to improve the protection for Indonesian migrant workers.

"We have increased our attention toward the most vulnerable groups, improved the prevention programs, as well as imposed an early detection, and an immediate response to reports. Indonesian government also called all stakeholders, including the non-governmental organization, the Indonesian community overseas, as well as the private sector, to involve in joint efforts to protect our migrant workers," he reiterated.

Apart from Iqbal, the forum, which was held jointly by Indonesian Diaspora Network, Indonesian Diaspora Business Council, and Indonesian Diaspora Foundation, was attended by the BNP2TKI First Secretary Hermono, the US-based Immigration Attorney Harun Calehr, and the Diaspora Protection Activist, Diani Ariesta.(*)