Indonesia and circular labor migration: governance, remittances and multi-directional flows

Charanpal S. Bal, Wayne Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialOtherpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The World Bank estimated the number of documented and undocumented Indonesian labor migrants to be nine million in 2016, equivalent to about 7 percent of the national labor force, with around 38 percent of them involved in domestic and caregiving work (World Bank, 2017: 11). In 2019, Indonesia was the third-largest migrant-sending country in East and Southeast Asia after China and the Philippines (United Nations, 2019). Yet, at a time when circular labor migration has become a key feature of the global political economy, it is not the figures alone that make Indonesia a compelling case study to examine a wide array of labor migration issues. The Indonesian experience offers useful insights into understanding broader labor migration problems, namely, (i) the problem of contested governance and transnational advocacy; (ii) the oft-debated links between remittances and development; and (iii) issues arising from the multi-directional nature of labor migration. This special section provides a close examination of these key global challenges in the Indonesian context. In our introduction, we situate each of these issues within their broader contexts and attendant debates. We then draw out the key contributions of each paper and outline the implications these have for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalAsian and Pacific Migration Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

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