Subject: AN: Ex-E Timorese Refugees Deserve Job Opportunities Abroad

Ex-E Timorese Refugees Deserve Job Opportunities Abroad

August 27, 2003 4:06am Antara

Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Aug 24 (ANTARA) - Ex-East Timorese refugees in East Nusa Tenggara province's district of Belu deserved participation in a program on the dispatch of Indonesian workers to different countries.

"We have discussed it at a consultative meeting on the dispatch of workers abroad in Jakarta late June, 2003," head of the Belu district manpower and transmigration office Hendrikus Ganggur said here Sunday.

According to Hendrikus, the ex-East Timorese refugees living in Belu district which directly borders on East Timor claimed themselves part of the Indonesian people, and were reluctant to return to their home country.

Hendrikus disclosed that some of the ex-East Timorese refugees were ready to join the transmigration program while others stayed in Belu due to financial problem.

"The number of ex-East Timorese refugees who are taking part in the program on the sending of workers abroad is limited as they are required to pay a certain amount of money for administrative matters," he said.

Thus, he said, efforts to empower ex-East Timorese refugees could be made through a program on sending workers abroad besides programs on relocation, transmigration and repatriation.

He expressed hope the central government would follow up on Belu district's proposal to give the ex-East Timorese refugees an opportunity to join the program on the dispatch of workers abroad.

In this context, the central government is expected to obtain information from countries which may need Indonesian workers from different areas in the country including Belu district, Hendrikus added.

"For the time being, we have yet to receive information on requests from Malaysia, Japan and other countries for Indonesian workers, but we continue to follow developments on the matter," he said.

He admitted that since the ex-East Timorese refugees were concentrated in Belu district late in 1999, the district only once met a request for workers.

As many as 26 people from Belu had registered themselves as workers to be sent abroad and met various requirements including initial payment of Rp2,000,000 for working in Malaysia, he noted, adding that eight of them were ex-East Timorese refugees.

"However, the program on the sending of Indonesian workers to Malaysia was postponed and even cancelled. The experience had made us more careful in recruiting prospective Indonesian workers to be sent abroad," he said.


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