NAT Husin Bagis-1593954847712
Husin Bagis, Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: The Indonesian Embassy in Abu Dhabi has repatriated more 800 of its citizens in past few months and over 300 domestic helpers are to be sent back home soon, a top official from the embassy told Gulf News.

There are around 77,000 Indonesians in the UAE, 80 per cent of them are domestic helpers. The other 20 per cent are employed as engineers in oil and gas industries as well as paper mills and other different sectors of hospitality, seamen, nurses and imams [who leads prayers] in mosques.

Speaking to Gulf News, Husin Bagis, Indonesian Ambassador to the UAE, said, “We have more than 300 Indonesian maids who want to go back home. Aside from that, we also have many Indonesian seamen working in oil and gas or transport vessels, wish to go home but they cannot because since March there has been no crew change possibility.

“Many of them have been working over the contract because no foreign seamen are allowed enter since March thus making them unable to get a crew change.”

Between April and May, there were six flights with around 800 Indonesians onboard, consisting of housemaids, professional workers, hoteliers who departed from the UAE to Indonesia.

The embassy has recorded around 800 Indonesians have been repatriated with voluntary repatriation mechanism. But since Etihad flied four times a week in June, we have not recorded manifests anymore.

“As for the chartered flights, we have arranged two repatriations in April. These flights were for stranded seamen from six cruise ships berthed in Abu Dhabi and Dubai,” the envoy said.

As many as 538 Indonesian seamen were repatriated with chartered flights paid by the company. We still do repatriate Indonesian seamen up until now, but since the number is not as big, so they were repatriated using the ‘limited outbound repatriation flights’ with Etihad, the mission said.

“The embassy makes use of the amnesty programme of the local government. With good cooperation between the local government and embassy, we collaborate to ensure that we can repatriate those who lost their jobs,” Bagis said.

The embassy has also distributed 1,477 humanitarian aids for Indonesians in Abu Dhabi and other emirates since April to June.

The distributed packages consist of food items such as rice, instant noodles, canned meat, canned chicken, canned sardines, cooking oil, and sugar.

The embassy delivers the packages to the person in need.

The mission also gave out handmade reusable/washable masks in the packages made by Indonesians sheltered at the embassy’s guest house.

Since the closure of airports/flights and immigration services, the embassy has provided place for those troubled Indonesians at the embassy’s guest house, and the number has reached 144 persons, Bagis said.

Many of them have lost their passports and now we can process their repatriation after immigration services are resumed,” he said.

Many Indonesians who are willing to go back home have salary issues and wanted to wait until their employer pays the salary before they go, the ambassador said.