Master of International Relations of Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta University held a general discussion on Indonesian migrant workers on Thursday, April 12th, 2018. The discussion aimed to address some problems related to Indonesia’s governance on migrant workers. A newly appointed chairman of Serikat Buruh Migran Indonesia or SBMI, Mr. Ridwan Wahyudi has shared his experience and research regarding Indonesia’s governance on migrant workers.

At the beginning of the discussion, Mr. Ridwan Wahyudi revealed that he was once the migrant workers who became the victim of the fraud, and it brought him to become the member of SBMI. Unfortunately, there are many migrant workers who still experience the same problems, or maybe worse.

According to Mr. Ridwan, most of the local governments in Indonesia do not understand about their authorities in governing migrant workers. They also have lack information about international labor market. Besides, most of the prospective migrant workers are amazed with the promising salary, but they do not pay attention to the contracts. There are many agencies that offer shortcut for prospective migrant workers in informal sector, without having any proper training.

Mr. Ridwan mentioned the flaws in the governance of migrant workers that have not been unsolved, such as overlapping institutions and authorities, conflict within the body and bureaucracy, discriminatory yet inconsistent policy towards migrant workers. Indonesia regulations tend to discriminate domestic workers, and indicate gender bias. Conflicts of interest between sending countries and receiving countries have become the obstacle for protecting the rights of migrant workers. In Southeast Asia region for instance, ASEAN consensus exclude the right of migrant workers to reunite with their family.

Master students who are concerned with migrant workers research have enjoyed a delightful discussion with Mr. Ridwan. There are many reliable information and beneficial suggestions that might support their research. The discussion ended with photo session among the participants.