The reduction of unemployment is currently one of the most pressing tasks of government, as the Indonesian economy has not fully recovered from the Asian economic crisis of 1997–98. The export of labour has thus become an important issue as Indonesia confronts the economic and social issues associated with unemployment and the globalisation of labour markets. During the period from 2001 to 2002, 455, 879 Indonesian workers went to work abroad. Again, between January and June 2003 the government sent 62,655 workers to East Asia (Department of Manpower and Transmigration 2004). Previously, about 2.5 million Indonesians had worked abroad. However, all these figures exclude undocumented Indonesian migrants. The main regions that recruit Indonesian workers include the Middle East and East and Southeast Asian countries (particularly with the latter’s commitment towards economic integration).
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