Indonesian migrant workers face dangers along the sea routes to Malaysia

At least 21 people died in a shipwreck on December 15 when a boat full of Indonesian migrants trying to reach Malaysia capsized. The shipwreck took place on a common migration route between Indonesia and Malaysia, taken by many migrant workers.

We spoke with Alex Ong, the Malaysia Coordinator for “Migrant CARE”, an Jakarta-based organization that helps Indonesian migrants around the world.

Between 100,000 and 200,000 Indonesians travel to Malaysia without papers each year, according to Migrant CARE. Once there, many fail to achieve legal status. Others gain legal status and then lose it. In total, there are more than 1.5 million undocumented Indonesian workers in Malaysia.

According to Ong, these dangerous illegal crossings at sea have increased as the Malaysian economy recovers from low covid-19. Many industries, such as the palm oil sector, have a high demand for labor and are dependent on migrant workers.

>> Read more at The Observers: The deadly, widely used migration route between Indonesia and Malaysia

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