Indonesian Officials completed the repatriation of 2,230 of their nationals, including 143 infants, under a special arrangement. The national aircraft, Garuda, that transported Indonesian pilgrims to the Kingdom, was used to transport the stranded expatriates back to their homeland. A total of six aircrafts were commissioned to fly the expatriates in a span of three days from Wednesday to Friday.
For the past two years, Indonesian expatriates – largely absconding female domestic workers– have been gathering in front of the premises of their consulate in Rehab district in Jeddah often during Haj session, demanding to be repatriated back home free of charge.
The incident reoccurred during the first week of October, when several hundred Indonesian nationals gathered around the entrance of their consulate. Security forces were notified and immediately rushed to the scene to prevent the Indonesian workers from entering the premises of the consulate.
Indonesian Consul General Zakaria Anshar along with a team of senior officials held a meeting with Saudi authorities to sort out this issue, whereby it was agreed upon to allow the stranded Indonesian workers to return back home, after clearing paper formalities, such as immigration clearance and establishing a transportation plan.
The first batch of Indonesian expatriates departed on Wednesday, the flight consisted of 336 passengers, including 302 women, 15 children and 19 infants. The flight was supposed to have a total of 337 passengers, but a day prior to departure, a pregnant woman delivered and therefore couldn’t board the flight. The last group of Indonesian expatriates left on Friday night onboard the Airbus-330 plane, with 333 passengers, stated Mr.Appo Illa, Garuda’s Station Manager. Indonesia is sending the world’s largest contingent of Haj pilgrims with 296 scheduled flights.
Indonesian authorities arranged the repatriation of 18,675 of its nationals from Saudi Arabia in 2011, while the figure was 15,000 in 2010. A total of 8,631 documents in lieu of passports were issued to facilitate repatriation this year.
According to data acquired from the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower, Saudi Arabia is the second largest country hosting Indonesian workers after Malaysia.