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Suffer to Survive: The Indonesian Illegal Workers Experiences in Malaysia and Japan

Abstract : This article departs from the reality that many Indonesian workers have been sentenced to the court and charged under the immigration act due to illegal work and overstay. Subsequently,
Malaysian government, for instance, has made some arrests and mass-deportation, while all illegal workers were prosecuted and sentenced before their deportation. In other words, the illegal worker in Malaysia especially from Indonesia were arrested and treated as a criminal. Interestingly International Organization for Migration (IOM) listed Malaysia as one of the dangerous places for migrant workers. In contrast to this, Japan is one of the country with lowest risk of forced labour. This article urges readers to engage in a reflection on the trend and dynamics of the Indonesian illegal workers in Malaysia and Japan, while the Indonesian government incessantly take advantages from their large remittance. This is a qualitative research supplemented by semi-structured interviews with some key respondents especially who have experiences and expertise on Indonesian illegal workers. Systematically, the discussion of this article is divided into five sections, namely, history of Indonesian migrant workers, Indonesian illegal workers in Malaysia, Indonesian illegal workers in Japan, the struggles and conclusion. The gained empirical data revealed that Indonesian workers have their own perspectives and reasons pertaining the illegal workers’ issues.

Keywords: Indonesian; Illegal Workers; Exploitation; Contribution; Malaysia; Japan.


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