Despite some small improvements, Indonesia’s policies place it in the bottom three of 56 MIPEX countries. It scored 26 on the 100-point MIPEX scale, while the average country scored 49/100. Along with India, it has the most unfavourable policies for migrants of all the Asian countries surveyed.
Indonesia’s approach is categorised by MIPEX as “immigration without integration”, because its policies do not recognise Indonesia as a country of immigration and integration. Although immigrants can settle long-term in the country, they are denied basic rights and equal opportunity to participate in society. In fact, access to basic rights and equal opportunities is weaker in Indonesia than in almost all other MIPEX countries.
A country’s approach to integration matters because its policies influence whether or not integration in the country works as a two-way process. The way in which governments treat immigrants affects how well immigrants and the public interact, and Indonesia’s current policies encourage the public to see immigrants as subordinates and foreigners rather than as equals.
Furthermore, immigrants face obstacles in nearly all areas of integration in Indonesia, with the exception of family reunification and permanent residence policies. Education and political participation policies are particularly unfavourable. Migrants in Indonesia must endure the weakest labour market, education, health, political participation and anti-discrimination policies of all the MIPEX countries.
- Labour market mobility: Unfavourable: Immigrants face major obstacles in labour market access, with neither general nor targeted support available. Migrant workers do not have equal access to state-provided social security.
- Family reunification: Slightly favourable: Although many foreign citizens in Indonesia are immediately eligible for family reunification, family members who arrive are left entirely dependent upon their sponsor.
- Education: Unfavourable: The education system restricts access for TCNs and offers migrant pupils no general or specific support.
- Health: Unfavourable: Legal migrants and asylum seekers must meet additional requirements to access the healthcare system, and receive no targeted information or support for their specific health needs.
- Political participation: Unfavourable: Immigrants are denied the opportunity to participate in public life in Indonesia. Foreign citizens have no right to vote and are not consulted by policymakers.
- Permanent residence: Halfway favourable: The path to permanent residence for newcomers in Indonesia is mainly determined by their ability to fulfil certain economic requirements. Permanent residents have an insecure status and are denied treatment equal to that received by Indonesian nationals in key areas of life, such as social security and assistance.
- Access to nationality: Slightly unfavourable: The path to Indonesian citizenship is short (five years) but burdensome for migrants, as Indonesia imposes strict language and economic requirements. It has not followed international reform trends to allow dual nationality for foreign citizens, or birth right citizenship entitlements.
- Anti-discrimination: Unfavourable: Indonesia does not have any overarching anti-discrimination law. Instead, a patchwork of laws and sector-specific regulations prohibit ethnic, racial and religious discrimination. Victims of discrimination have little hope of securing justice, as the country has no specific enforcement mechanisms or independent equality body to ensure that these laws are upheld.