Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Indonesian government is considering lifting a ban on sending domestic workers to the Middle East. From 2011 to 2013, Jakarta imposed a temporary ban on sending domestic workers to the Middle East after reports of them being abused and tortured.

In 2015, a total ban for 21 countries was imposed after the Saudi government sentenced two Indonesian domestic workers to death, the Jakarta Globe reported.

Among the 21 countries were Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain, which have the biggest demand for domestic workers.

Nurson Wahid, the head of the Migrant Worker Protection and Placement Agency, said the government had been working on a plan that would allow domestic workers to find employment overseas again. Up to 30,000 domestic workers will be deployed to the Middle East once the ban is lifted.

He said the rights of domestic workers will be protected as the government will follow the example of other countries such as the Philippines, which signed an agreement with the Kuwaiti government on the protection of Filipino domestic workers.

“The maids’ working hours are now fixed. They may not be required to exceed the maximum working hours, just like other workers,” Wahid said. Wahid added that domestic workers will no longer be allowed to stay in their employers’ homes, which will ensure their protection.

“This working model has been applied to migrant workers from the Philippines,” he said. As of 2014, there were 1.5 million Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.

There are about one million Filipino workers in Saudi Arabia, 700,000 in the United Arab Emirates, 200,000 in Qatar and 140,000 in Kuwait.

Asia Times Financial is now live. Linking accurate news, insightful analysis and local knowledge with the ATF China Bond 50 Index, the world's first benchmark cross sector Chinese Bond Indices. Read ATF now.