Muscat: Indonesia’s Embassy in Muscat has refuted reports that Indonesian women are defying a government ban on travelling to Oman to work as maids.
“In the last one year, no Indonesian housemaids have come to Oman,” Virgino Rikaryanto, Socio-Culture Affairs official at the Indonesian Embassy in Muscat, said.
He also clarified that the Omani government has not legalised any contract ever since Indonesia stopped sending its domestic workers to Oman.
“The report is not true in (relation to) Oman. It may be happening in other countries,” he said.
His comment came after a survey revealed that Indonesian women are still pouring into the Middle East, including in Oman to work as maids.
Indonesia had announced in May 2015 a permanent ban on sending women to the Middle East as domestic workers, following reports of widespread abuse in the Middle East.
“This was done to regulate the recruitment process, and to protect Indonesian workers in Oman. It will also end certain malpractices, which agencies in Indonesia indulge in, while recruiting domestic workers from various regions in Indonesia,” officials had stressed, when the ban was announced.
However, the survey released by an advocacy group Migrant Care found that hundreds of Indonesian women are still taking up jobs in the Middle East.
A total of 1,020 women interviewed between March 2015 and last month at Jakarta’s main airport said they were travelling abroad for the first time to seek jobs as maids.
“About 90 per cent of them were bound for Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait,” the poll showed.
The rest were going to Malaysia, which is not part of the ban.
Embassy officials said they are keen on bringing skilled workers to Oman at the moment. “Our focus today is to reduce the number of Indonesia housemaids and, instead, increase the number of professionals in other sectors.”
According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information, the number of Indonesian nationals working in the private sector in Oman was 28,323 in May 2016, including 27,681 females and 642 males.