Safe Return and Sustainable Reintegration of Migrants

Malaysia and Indonesia share a unique “host-transit-origin country” relationship. Indonesia contributes the largest migrant worker population in Malaysia, no thanks to the ‘porous’ boundaries allowing easy access between both countries.

Recognising this, IOM partnered with GSB and organised a 3-day workshop on strengthening referrals and services for civil society partners in Indonesia and Malaysia to promote collaboration for  the safe and dignified return and sustainable reintegration of this vulnerable population.

The workshop aimed to provide a platform for CSOs of both countries to exchange knowledge and experiences, share best practices, identify opportunities for collaboration, build new partnerships and strengthen existing ones. The sessions centred around the main themes of addressing repatriation challenges, family acceptance, citizenship determination and cross-border collaboration.

Valuable insights were shared regarding the complexities of the repatriation process. This included discussions on the legal procedures and the length of time it takes. The challenges that returning migrant workers face were also highlighted, such as the stigma of failure and the need for acceptance from their families. Additionally, the experts discussed the vulnerability of these workers to being exploited, including the risk of being trafficked.

While the challenges are substantial, the workshop highlighted several opportunities for building on existing initiatives and recommendations for new initiatives and partnerships.

To sum up, the workshop discussions provided insights into the various challenges, opportunities, and recommendations for dealing with human trafficking and supporting vulnerable migrant communities in Malaysia and Indonesia. Although these issues are complicated and have deep roots, the commitment and cooperation of stakeholders give hope for effective solutions and better outcomes for survivors.