In a story datelined Jakarta, January 5, 2012, the Straits Times reported plans afoot in Indonesia to ban sending maids abroad by 2017 unless the receiving country recognises them as formal workers.

Under the Domestic Worker Roadmap 2017, it wants to ensure maids are treated like other workers when they work abroad – earning minimum wages, getting leave and working fixed hours, for example.

— Straits Times, 5 January 2012, Jakarta plans to stop sending maids by 2017, by Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja,

Indonesians account for about half of the domestic workers in Singapore homes.

Indonesian Manpower and Transmigration Minister Muhaimin Iskandar was quoted as saying: “Under the roadmap, we target zero sending out of domestic maids. . . . They should be placed in specific positions such as cook, housekeeper or caregiver.” He added that these workers should also enjoy the usual rights that their formal counterparts get, such as predetermined working hours, leave, minimum wages and ‘social guarantees’.

The newspaper story also quoted critics saying that the plan is unworkable. Low educational levels and lack of jobs domestically are among the reasons. Even now, an employment agency boss told the newspaper, maids continue going to certain Middle Eastern countries illegally when a moratorium is supposed to be in place.