Indonesia migrant workers score big

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesian migrant workers continue to make major contributions to the country's economy through their remittances home.

During the second quarter, migrant workers sent home US$1.5 billion, a 5.4 percent increase from the same period last year, according to Bank Indonesia.

The central bank said it expected the full-year figure to reach $4.9 billion.

Triyono Widodo, Bank Indonesia's director for economic statistics, said Friday the figure was about the same as last year, although there was the possibility of a slight increase.

"It is possible that we will see higher remittance revenue this year because the number of migrant worker placements has been increasing," Triyono told news portal

Data show an increase both in migrant worker placements in several countries, as well as a rise in average salaries for migrant workers, especially for those in Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

The minimum montly salary for a migrant worker in Singapore has risen to S$350 from S$280. In Saudi Arabia the minimum salary has risen to 800 real from 600.

Triyono said the higher remittances had pushed the current transfer into a surplus.

"Because of the remittances, the current transfer in the second quarter of this year experienced a US$1.3 billion surplus, a $100 million increase from the $1.2 billion of last year's surplus."

Migrant workers in Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, two major destination countries for Indonesian workers, contributed $1.1 billion of the second quarter remittances, or some 73 percent of the total.

Of Indonesia's 4.7 million legal migrant workers, around 83 percent work in those two countries.

On the outflow side, foreign workers in Indonesia in the second quarter remitted $224 million to their home countries, a 19 percent decline from the same period last year. (14)
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