Indonesian Migrant Worker and Its Benefits Speech at JW Marriot Invitation by KISEAS




Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am very pleased to be with you here today to deliver a speech about Indonesian migrant workers in Korea.


Since I’ve been in Korea as an Indonesia Ambassador for a year, I met many Indonesian migrant workers to listen to their problem; and I had dinner party with the presidents of the companies that have Indonesian workers to give appreciation about hiring Indonesian workers and to ask more employment of Indonesian workers. Also I met mayors of industrial complex cities to know more Korean industrial situation. With EPS system, condition of migrant workers has been better than before, and it brought many benefits to the both countries. But, if there are improvements more, both countries have great benefits.


Diplomatic relationship between Indonesia and Korea was established in 1966 and “Joint Declaration on Strategic Partnership to Promote Friendship and Cooperation” was signed in December 2006. This partnership enabled both countries to a closer ties and more realistic cooperation. Labor relations between Indonesia and Korea established in 1994 through Industrial Trainee and in August 2004 through the MOU on sending workers under the Employment Permit System . In September 2008, this MOU has been renewed for the second time and Indonesian workers to be employed in Korea have the same rights and positions as Korean workers. With this national relationship, Korea is the most favorite country to go to work for Indonesian and Indonesian workers in Korea are the 4th largest number of workers following after Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines Then, what is EPS? It is Employment Permit System that allows employers who have  failed to hire native workers to legally hire an adequate number of foreign workers and is a system that the government uses to introduce and manage foreign workers in Korea in an organized manner. In an effort to succeed the EPS Implementation, the Indonesian government provides various training before workers enter Korea. This training conducted in order to enhance understanding on the Korean language, culture, and laws so that the Indonesian workers will have sufficient ability to adapt and communicate with the environment.


Even thought the effort of both countries, there are some problems haven’t solved yet such as that migrant workers work more and get much less salary than Korean workers. Also migrant workers sometimes get violation in work place. Work place with bad condition and limited freedom are also one of the problems.


There are some success stories of Indonesian migrant workers. With salary from Korea, they get a foothold in Indonesia after or plan to have a business with Korean industry after 3 years working in Korea One success story came from an Indonesian worker, who returned home after six years in Korea, together with several colleagues, and established a private Korean language training center in Indonesia. Students of the center gain the basic knowledge of Korean language related to vocational training Indonesia and Korea have been further strengthened with labors cooperation in many fields. Both the workers and their employers have been contributing to the economy of their respective countries. In the point of Indonesian benefits, reducing Indonesia’s unemployment, adapting Korea’s industrial skill and learning another culture. Also migrant workers send money to its country around  S$160,000,000 a year. In the point of Korean benefits, assisting in labor shortage problem, minimizing illegal migrant workers, increasing chances to hire semi-skilled migrant workers, promoting economic growth and learning another culture.


There are 30,000 Indonesian workers in Korea at  this moment. Our Indonesia embassy tries to make them live and work here more comfortable and conveniently as we provide guidance in wide ranging aspects to Indonesian workers.

I am here to give you not only the problems faced with Indonesian workers but also benefits for Indonesia and Korea for the future. To get benefit of both countries more, we have many problems that should be solved. Constant concern and effort of both countries will make this relationship and situation go one more step.

Thank you very much for your listening so far.



                                 Seoul, December 12, 2009