16 July 2014, Edi Hardum & Vita A.D. Busyra, Jakarta Globe

Jakarta. The manpower ministry has stripped 17 recruitment agencies of their permits following their attempts earlier this month to send as many as 87 migrant workers to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

“We’ll coordinate with police at the Soekarno-Hatta airport to collect all the names [of the migrant workers], and investigate the various violations these agencies have committed,” Reyna Usman, the manpower ministry’s director general for manpower placement and development, said on Tuesday.

The government placed a moratorium in August 2011 on the placement of migrant workers in most Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Still, many have managed to avoid police and government detection by using tourist visas to enter these countries with the help of recruitment agencies.

Employment firms Amanitama Berkah Sejati, Prima Duta and Gayung have been named by police in relation to the illegal placement of Indonesian workers.

Police at the Soekarno-Hatta airport in Banten province detained the 87 migrant workers when they failed to provide valid documents — including passports — upon inspection.

Reyna applauded the police for stopping workers from leaving the country, thereby preventing them from becoming potential victims of forced labor and abuse due to their illegal work status.

“Their hard work is an essential part of the government’s efforts to monitor the illegal placement of migrant workers abroad,” she said, adding that she will also be working closely with the Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) and the immigration department.

“We will continue to crack down on [recruitment] agencies that look to profit from selling Indonesia’s workers,” she said.



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