Toward a Sustainable Migrant Workers Community on Adonara Island: How They Adopt and Cope with State Policy and Their Culture

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:45 AM
Room: 424
Oral Presentation
Retno AGUSTIN , university of melbourne, Magelang, Indonesia
International Migration has been one of the significant elements of national development in Indonesia since the 1980s by expanding work opportunities abroad and increasing access to foreign capital (Lindquist, 2010: p119). The proportion of migrant workers in Adonara, a small island near Flores, eastern part of Indonesia is almost a quarter of the island’s population but they have broader social and economic impacts towards the development of the region. In contrast to their contribution, migrant workers often face unsolved problems during departure, pre departure and post departure processes.

Migrant workers originating from Adonara, who are usually categorized as self-migrating, mostly work in Sabah, West Malaysia. They go abroad as part of their family strategies for survival or social mobility (Asis, 2003:105). In the case of self-migration like in Adonara’s community, the government failed to protect and fulfill their rights because they argue that their duty is only to take care of the migrant workers with legal documents. So, migrant workers from Adonara are considered to be choosing to opt out from the government protection scheme just because they don’t have legal documents. However, the idea to ease the process of obtaining documents on very much alienated island from the center of development is not easily applicable due to several reasons.

“Safety migration policy’ as a new approach of migration studies in Indonesia is not found it ground yet.  People from alienated island tend to repeat their proponent who has been migrating for more than a century rather than obey to government policies on safe migration which cannot guarantee their safety. This abstract would like to explore how is strategy of migrant workers on Adonara Island to create a sustainable migrant worker community