Indonesian migrants hit “lies” of Consulate


Says guidelines on change of agency serves no interest of IMW
“The Indonesian Consulate’s decision to stand by Letter of Order No. 2258 shows that it chooses to hold on to their lies on protection, serve the interests of recruitment agencies, and deny the right of Indonesian migrant workers.”
This was declared today by Eni Lestari, coordinator of the United Indonesians against Overcharging or PILAR, before 1000 Indonesian workers gathered at Victoria Park to call for the scrapping of the Letter of Order 2258 implemented at the beginning of this year. The public forum was followed by a march rally and brief program in front of the Indonesian Consulate.
The said rule prohibited IMWs who have worked for less than two years in Hong Kong to change agencies without the approval of the Indonesian Consulate General.
“The Consulate said that the policy is for our protection. This is, in principle and in practice, a lie. How can it be if it ties us to recruitment agencies who overcharge us, keep us heavily in debt, and put us in vulnerable employment situation?” Lestari avers.
Lestari reported that each of Indonesian migrants are overcharged at least HK$21,000 in order to work in Hong Kong and the fee is collected by deducting illegally $3000 every month for the first five to seven months. Hong Kong Employment Ordinance stipulates that the maximum legal deduction from salary is only ¼ of one month salary or HK$870.
“In this situation, it is very clear that the profit of unscrupulous recruitment agencies is what the Consulate really wishes to protect,” she added.
Lestari said that while the high fee of HK$21,000 is legal under the Indonesian government policy, some Indonesian migrant workers have decided not to pay the full fees that put them and their families in an impoverished situation.
“Because of this new rule, we shall be forced to shell out the amount charged by recruiters even if it is obviously unjust,” Eni warned.
PILAR and other Indonesian formations such as GAMMI have launched their campaign to stop overcharging and demand the reduction of agency fee to one month salary following the international standard of practice of allowable fee for sending countries since middle of 2005. Even under the Hong Kong Employment Agency Administration of the Labour Department, the agency is only allowed to charge a maximum of 10% of first month salary from the workers. However the Indonesian government has not responded to their demands regarding the fees.
“The protection that we want is to be free from overcharging of recruiters. What the Indonesian Consulate must do is to allow direct hiring and seriously address unjust and illegal practices of recruiters. We will not stop until our demands are met,” Lestari remarked.

ATKI-HK – Assosiasi Tenaga Kerja Indonesia Hong Kong
c/o: APMM, Jordan road no. 2, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR
phone: +852 23147316 Fax: +852 27354559

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