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Friday 26 December 2008 (28 Dhul Hijjah 1429)

      Over 23,600 Indonesian workers deported this year
      Ghazanfar Ali Khan | Arab News 
      RIYADH: Saudi Arabia deported 23,644 Indonesian migrant workers, mostly 
maids, in 2008. Most of these workers entered the Kingdom on Umrah visas and 
overstayed, said senior Indonesian officials.

      "The total number of Indonesian workers deported this year will be a 
little more than the figure of 23,644 given by the Indonesian Consulate in 
Jeddah," said Indonesian Embassy spokesman Arif Suyoko.

      "In fact, the total number of deported workers from Saudi Arabia as a 
whole can be higher if we include Riyadh immigration also," said Suyoko, who 
was commenting on a report compiled and released by Indonesian Consul General 
Abdullah Mansyur.

      "Most overstayers were repatriated or sent back to Indonesia from 
Jeddah," said Adi Dzulfuat, an Indonesian labor official. He, however, could 
not say how many workers were deported from the Riyadh area.

      Deportation in such huge numbers cause a lot of problems to Indonesia in 
terms of employment, especially at this time of global financial crisis. The 
island state is facing the brunt of a global recession.

      According to a report, more than 23,000 workers in Indonesia face 
redundancies this month due to the fallout of the global recession. It is 
predicted that the layoffs will increase next year because of the deepening 
impact of recession. A total 17,000 Indonesian workers have already lost their 

      The Saudi National Committee for Recruitment (NCR) recently called on the 
government to stop issuing visas to Indonesian workers after the Indonesian 
Labor Federation called on recruitment agencies in the island state to ignore 
new Saudi labor regulations.

      Jakarta has not positively responded to the Unified Labor Contract 
regulations, which seek to unify rules to bring domestic workers to the Kingdom 
and protect the rights of Saudi employers and expatriate workers. The 
regulations, which have been postponed for the time being, were issued recently 
with the approval of the Ministry of Interior.

      On the other hand, the Indonesian government has been more concerned 
about the treatment meted out to Indonesian women-estimated at 650,000-working 
in the Kingdom.

      Of all labor exporting countries, Indonesia sends the highest number of 
women to work in Saudi Arabia. 

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