The Governance of Indonesian Overseas Employment in the Context of Decentralization


This study looks at emigration governance in the context of decentralized Indonesia. It examines various local initiatives that have evolved following the onset of decentralization in Indonesia a decade ago. These initiatives materialize in the form of perda (local regulations). In this study, first, a literature review is performed particularly to address the issue of perda related to overseas employment. Prior to the mapping analysis, a typology of four possible types of perda is constructed. Out of the 127 collected perda, 81% fall in type-1 perda (perda on general employment, which are extractive); 14.2% fall in type-2 perda (perda on general kabupaten (district) revenues, which are extractive); 2.4% fall in type-3 perda (perda on placement procedure, which are nonextractive); and 2.4% fall in type-4 perda (perda on migrant workers’ protection, which are nonextractive). The study finds that migrant-source kabupaten issue both higher numbers and varieties of perda related to overseas employment with type-1 and type-2 perda being the majority, while only three kabupaten (3.7% of 82 kabupaten) issue type-4 perda. Interestingly, our typology is not necessarily mutually exclusive, as kabupaten that pass protection perda do pass extractive perda as well.

Second, fieldwork is conducted in four migrant-source kabupaten which have received technical assistance from donor agencies to formulate protection perda. In order to understand why Kabupaten Blitar and Kabupaten Lombok Barat were able to pass protection perda, while Kabupaten Ponorogo and Kabupaten Lombok Tengah could not, the study looks at the internal factors: stakeholders and the relationships between them; and the external factors which are beyond the control of the stakeholders. Our field study shows that the policy process in each kabupaten is unique and cannot be explained in a standard model. The duration of the policy process, substance of the perda, position of the advocating nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), intervention of private recruitment agencies (PPTKIS), and the timing of election are factors that influence the policy process outcomes, which are different in each kabupaten. Other factors such as the trust and commitment of the local government and parliament, strong capacity of NGOs, and strong support of donors also positively influence the success of the process.

Keywords: overseas migration, governance, decentralization

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