Economic worries for Asia’s migrant workers

The World

This man’s job is to manage the monthly remittances from his sisters in law working in Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. They work as housemaids and earn more than three times what they could in Indonesia he explains and each money they send back half of their wage, about $150 dollars, to support their eight children. Indonesia’s central bank estimates remittances from Indonesians working abroad totaled $4 billion U.S. dollars for the first seven months of the year, and that amount is even higher in the Philippines. This analyst fears this source of money will dry up with the global economic crisis, and migrant workers will be the first to have their wages reduced. There are also hundreds of cases yearly of unpaid wages or domestic violence. In Kuala Lampur, worries about the migrant crisis have already started to make their way through the communities. Another problem is the large number of migrant workers without proper documents�almost half the Indonesian workers in Malaysia are undocumented. This analyst says governments crack down on these migrant workers during economic slumps, and undocumented workers are used as scapegoats. However this analyst predicts Indonesian domestic workers will remain in high demand because many families see the workers as a necessity.

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