Time for ASEAN to Agree to Implement Portable Social Security to Protect Migrant Workers

Photo: Migrant Care held a side event to the 42nd ASEAN Summit in 2023 with the theme Migrant Worker Protection in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, 6-8 May 2023. (Doc. NTT EXPRESS)

The PRAKARSA - Researcher The PRAKARSA be one of the speakers at the event side event High Level Conference (Summit) ASEAN the 42nd organized by Migrants CARE. With the theme Migrant Worker Protection, this event was held for three days at the Flamingo Bajo Hotel, Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), on Saturday-Monday (6-8/5/2023). 

The 42nd ASEAN Summit which was held on 10-11 May 2023 was attended by the heads of ASEAN member countries (except Myanmar) including Timor Leste with status as a observer in accordance with the results of the 40th ASEAN Summit. 

Civil society groups see that the 42nd ASEAN Summit this time is the right opportunity to ensure the protection of Migrant Workers through an agreement document which is a regional instrument and the basis for managing labor migration in ASEAN member countries. 

On this occasion, researcher The PRAKARSA Darmawan Prasetya conveyed the need for portability for social security for migrant workers. "The differences in the social security system in each ASEAN country starting from the aspects of registration, benefit withdrawal, program coverage and financing are the reasons for the importance of ASEAN countries implementing portability to make it easier for migrant workers to obtain their social security," said Darmawan. 

Darmawan explained that there are several key elements that need to be considered in the implementation of portable social security. Among them is that there must be equality of treatment, by eliminating the conditions of residence or citizenship and emphasizing contribution schemes to enable migrants to access social security. 

Furthermore, portable social security policies must be able to export benefits, so that migrant workers can access benefits easily. In addition, what is also important to note according to Darmawan is related to legal certainty. 

"This is to prevent migrant workers from registering in two social security systems in two countries, which requires them to re-register and contribute to two social security schemes in two different countries," explained Darmawan. 

Darmawan further added that administrative support from the state is also needed in order to help migrant workers easily make claims and verify their eligibility.  

Finally, explained Darmawan, there must be a "totalization" or the sum of the contribution periods. "This allows migrants to enjoy the benefits they get by working in many countries after retiring to their home country, this is very important for certainty of getting social security," he explained. 

For this reason, the 42nd ASEAN Summit is the right moment to encourage ASEAN Leaders to make a roadmap for accelerating the implementation of the 2022 Cambodia agreement on the portability of social security for migrant workers. "So as not to repeat the long negotiation process between the 2007, 2012 and 2022 ASEAN agreements," Darmawan concluded. 

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