UB Research : COVID-19 Retards Remittances of Migrant Workers from Malang

The people of Sukowilangun Village, Malang Regency, make Cassava Gaplek as a side business

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down remittances to Malang area or the origin of the migrant workers, due to the delay in providing salaries for a number of workers, so they cannot send money to their families in Indonesia.

Researchers from Universitas Brawijaya (UB), namely Faishal Aminuddin, Saseendran Pallikadavath, Sujarwoto, Keppi Sukesi and Henny Rosalinda noted that many migrant workers lost their jobs so they could not send money to their families in Indonesia.

“The government needs to pay attention to the welfare of migrant workers abroad and their families in Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

The research member, Keppi Sukesi said the research location was conducted in Malang Regency, which is one of the areas sends many migrant workers abroad.

These migrant workers generally work in foreign countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia. They work in the domestic sector such as domestic assistants or factory workers.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many of them have faced economic problems which resulted in delays in sending money to their families in Indonesia.

“Migrant workers generally face problems such as late payment of salaries and layoffs for those working in factories due to the pandemic. As a result, they cannot send money to their families in Indonesia for several months. Not only that, some of them also face psychological problems due to fear of being exposed to the virus or not being able to return to Indonesia, “said Prof. Keppi.

Another research member, Sujarwoto, explained that based on a survey conducted on 605 households with 1,926 household members of migrant families in Malang Regency, all experienced socio-economic problems and felt concern for their families due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In general, the families of migrant workers are people in the lower middle social class who depend on their families who work as migrants to survive. So, when migrant workers experience problems related to sending salaries to their families in Indonesia, the migrant families are also directly affected, ”said Sujarwoto.

Not only that, issues such as the provision of online schools during the pandemic also raise problems for migrant families.

Many migrant workers’ children find it difficult to attend school because they do not have access to the internet. Although the government has provided social assistance in the form of foodstuffs and internet quotas for students, in several areas the distribution of assistance is still deemed uneven.

So that migrant families who have not received assistance from the government must go into debt to meet their daily needs.

In terms of health, migrant workers also admit that they have never received medical assistance from the Indonesian government. The government is considered to have paid less attention to the health conditions of migrant workers abroad. Likewise, families who are left, generally work as farmers in villages that do not have access to health insurance, namely BPJS.

This research was conducted in collaboration with Portsmouth University, England, which aims to see how the socio-economic and health conditions of migrant workers and their families who are left behind, especially during the pandemic.

“In this research we want to see what problems arise and what policies have been or should be implemented by the government,” said Prof. Keppy ended his statement. (KPY / Humas UB/ Trans. Iir)