Mon, 12 May 2003

Saudi Arabia reconsiders TKIs

JAKARTA: Irritated by the government's decision to suspend the dispatch of Indonesian workers (TKI) to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is considering calling a stop to recruiting workers from Indonesia.

Saudi Arabia's Al-Riyadh newspaper reported last week that the country was seeking alternative sources for labor recruitment, and that the kingdom's officials had held talks with Vietnam and Cambodia about recruiting workers from there.

Saudi Ambassador to Jakarta Abdullah Aalam said there were three major hurdles to labor recruitment from Indonesia.

For one thing, Jakarta only allowed 27 of 400 Indonesian labor recruitment offices to handle Saudi labor applications, delaying recruitment procedures and harming the interests of Saudi recruitment offices, he said.

Second, the Indonesian government wants its embassy in Riyadh to endorse work contracts at a charge of US$25 per contract. The kingdom rejects this intervention.

Third, the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration has imposed a quota system on recruitment offices, which are allowed to process only a certain number of visas a month. This measure, the Saudis fear, would also hamper recruitment from Indonesia.

The Saudi Arabian Embassy has held off more than 40,000 labor visas since Indonesian authorities stopped exporting workers to the kingdom. --Al Riyadh.