Indonesian migrants demand direct and simpler processing for advanced renewal
"The Indonesian Consulate is pro-recruitment agency, anti-migrant worker."
This was declared by Eni Lestari, spokesperson of the United Indonesians Against Overcharging (PILAR), as the group condemned the Indonesian Consulate's decision to implement mandatory processing for Indonesian domestic workers' contracts through agency for advanced renewal.
Yesterday, the Indonesian Consulate announced this decision in a meeting with the Association of Employment Agency in Hong Kong (APPIH) and in a briefing with the Indonesian media in Hong Kong. Last week, PILAR submitted a letter to the consulate to seek clarification on the process of advanced renewal and also ask for simple and direct processing of the contracts.
"The Indonesian Consulate has taken its position against the Indonesian migrant workers despite the overwhelming concerns of Indonesian migrant workers to make the advanced renewal process more direct, simpler and less burdensome". Lestari tagged.
Last Sunday, August 10, hundreds of Indonesian migrants from around 27 Indonesian migrant organizations held a rally in front of the Indonesian Consulate to forward the said demand as well as criticize the inaction of Consulate in responding to this urgent concern of its own people in Hong Kong.
"Even before this matter arose, the Indonesian migrant workers have been gravely exploited by the agencies and have lobbied for direct processing to save them from the clutches of recruitment agencies. With this position, the Consulate practically fed us to the wolves" Eni added.
PILAR has documented cases of Indonesian migrant workers exploited and overcharged by the agency in Hong Kong for processing their advance contract renewal.
According to Lestari, PILAR has gathered reports of Indonesian migrant workers being asked to extra for agency fee ranging between HK$348 to HK$3,000 to the agency or even more for the process of their advance contract renewal. While at the same time, the employers themselves have to pay the agency around HK$1,500 onwards.
"Why can't the Consulate impose discretion on this direct processing of renewal to relieve our burden? What kind of Government pushes its own people to danger" Lestari urged.
PILAR also found laughable the guarantee made by Indonesian Consulate that they had told the agencies in Hong Kong not to collect extra money from migrants.
"This consulate is notorious for playing deaf and blind to the problems of Indonesian migrants. Not only does it ignore our immediate concerns, it even worsens our situation by forcing us to go through agency for advanced renewal. Clearly this guarantee is just lips service," she added.
PILAR has started monitoring and gathering the cases of Indonesian migrant workers affected by this said policy. The group is also planning to organize a press conference this Sunday, 17 August 2008, to also present Indonesian migrants who have fallen victims to this system.
"The Consulate will face the wrath of the Indonesian migrants. It is high time for them to face us and work on our problems," she concluded.#
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