Understanding the Pattern of Institutional Arrangement of International Migrant Workers in Indonesia
Mochammad Faisal Karim
Abstract Research Paper
Despite being widely studied by both international relations scholars and economists, study on international labour migration mainly focuses on the effect of the migrant workers on the hosting countries in terms of the social problem it created as well as the effect of the migrant workers on the development of the sending countries. In respect to Indonesia, the study on international labour migration is heavily dominated by the study on the human rights and the economics of migrant workers. Thus, the study on the political economy of recruitment process of low-skill temporary migrant workers, which is the early part of the international labour migration process, is heavily understudied. This research aims to fill the gap in the literature of international migrant workers by focusing on this particular topic.
The aim of the study is two folds. Firstly, it seeks to examine the institutional arrangement of international labour market in Indonesia. In particular, it seeks to explain how the dynamic interaction between private recruitment agents, state authority, and local government in dealing with the chain process of international migrant workers has an effect on the recruitment process of low-skilled migrant workers in Indonesia. The dynamic interaction is interesting to be studied due to the recruitment process of low-skilled migrant workers became more complex and costly for the migrants since the Indonesian government tries to make it more accountable through the establishment of National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers (BNP2TKI). How these three actors; local government, private recruitment agents, and central government institution might shed the light on how to articulate a more coherent and comprehensive migrant workers regulation and policy.
Secondly, the study seeks to address the political economy of migration recruitment process in the micro-level. Currently, study on the political economy of migration process mainly focuses on the quantitative studies on the determinant factors affecting the size, direction and nature of international migration. Yet detailed qualitative research with a historical perspective that focuses on particular local communities has been deficient in international migration literatures especially in Indonesia. The need of qualitative aspects of low skilled migrant involvement from rural areas into an international labour market is a necessity. Thus, the research project will examine the question how migrant workers coming from rural areas can be involved into network of global labour markets? Does the involvement of migrant workers in international labour market can be explained with their relationship with the local (i.e. kinship network), national (i.e. poverty pattern) and international political economy (i.e. global labour market)?
To address the questions, the research will employ qualitative method by focusing on structure of agent chain and institutional arrangement in particular local government, central government institution (BNP2TKI and Ministry of Manpower), and private recruitment agencies as well as social network existing in the local communities and hosting countries. The case study will be on Indramayu and East Lombok. These two regions are the largest sender of international migrant workers.
- How do the dynamic relations between private recruitment agents, central government authority, and local government involved in the chain process of international migrant workers affect the recruitment process of low-skilled migrant workers in Indonesia?
- Why does the exploitation of low-skilled migrant workers by private agents remain persistent despite the effort made by the central government in constraining their malpractice?
- How does the establishment of National Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Workers (BNP2TKI) which aims to create good governance in recruitment process of low-skilled migrant workers somehow foster the exploitation of migrant workers
- How does decentralization which gives an greater role to the local government in handling the recruitment process of low-skilled migrant workers create a complexity in institutions and legal framework in the governance of migrant industry?
Funded by Open Society Institute (OSI)
Published at : Updated