GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Determinants of Future Indonesian Labour Migration to the Gulf
Paper Proposal Text :
Indonesia has a long history of labour migration to Gulf countries. This paper examines the evolution of this movement and its determinants with a view to identifying likely future flows and their determinants. Indonesia has been a quintessential migration source nation but recent demographic, social and economic developments are producing some significant changes which will influence the scale and composition of future emigration. The paper begins with a detailed analysis of recent labour flows from Indonesia to the Gulf countries and summarises what is known of the drivers and impacts of those movements. It identifies the areas and groups which have been the main sources from which these migrant workers have been drawn. It then examines recent demographic, social and economic trends in those areas and argues that there has been a reduction in the in the push pressures in those areas due partly to reduced population growth but also due to the development of a range of alternative opportunities. One of the major factors in bringing about these changes has been the prolonged inflows of remittances into these areas as a result of the long history of migration to the Gulf. On the other hand the developed, maintenance and strengthening of social networks between these areas and the Middle East are a strong element in maintaining the flow. Indeed many of these linkages are direct to families in Middle Eastern countries and will result in continuity in the migration pattern.
Another element which will be examined is the policy context in Indonesia. Indonesian governments are taking an increasing interest in labour migration and increasingly building it into development strategies. However there also have been concerns about the rights of migrant workers and bans have been imposed on particular countries and particular types of workers. Government policy and engagement will be of additional importance in the future destinations for Indonesian labour migrants. These flows may well be enhanced after 2015 with the introduction of the ASEAN Economic Community. This will be an important determinant of future patterns of labour migration.
The paper concludes with a discussion of likely future scenarios of labour migration between Indonesia and the Middle East. It is argued that the migration corridor which has been developed between Indonesia and particular Middle Eastern Countries has developed to such an extent that labour migration will be only one element in a more varied pattern of movement. However there will continue to be significant demand from Indonesians to work in the Gulf for the foreseeable future.