Institute for National and Democratic Studies

Migrant Bride Problem

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An e-mail was spread by Prof Hsiao-chuan Hsia through international mails immigrant brides. Prof Hsia reported a story about woman from Indonesia that had been lived in Taiwan for more and less 20 years.

That woman came to Taiwan as immigrant bride. She married with Taiwan citizen man and had daughter that now lived together with her in Taiwan. She still had Indonesia citizen status.

On beginning, especially when husband still alive, the status didn’t bring any problem. She could get lived permission in Taiwan because she became wife of Taiwan citizen.

Situation changed after her husband died. She must look for job to pay her and her daughter live. This wasn’t easy because she came to Taiwan as wife, not as Indonesia migrant labor (BMI) so didn’t have working visa.

Effort managed working visa also didn’t easy because must through recommendation worker allocation agent. Problem became more complicated when passport validity ended. Effort managed to renew passport endured obstacle because Indonesia representative in Taiwan had said couldn’t process her request. In short, she was threatened to be deported to Indonesia.

This problem wasn’t only fall on her. Her daughter also faced same immigration threat. She must proof through DNA test to give proof her daughter was result of her marriage with Taiwan citizen. Fortunately, to that test necessity, campus where Prof Hsia worked willingly to help.

If DNA test succeed, so her daughter had chance to get Taiwan citizenship status. But, if mother effort to make clear of her citizenship status didn’t work and she was deported, so big possibility that mother and daughter forcedly separated. Now, her family future really depended on support and help from various parts, Prof Hsia said.
Migrant Bride

Case that was explained Prof Hsia was one of cases that fell on women Indonesia citizen that was recruited to work in Taiwan with status as migrant bride, usually Tionghoa descendant women from poor settlement pouch.

Women that were recruited really not only from Indonesia, but WNI number that became migrant bride in Taiwan was recorded as third biggest after China and Indo-China.

In beginning migrant bride phenomenon was caused there was obstacle from Taiwan men-specially from low worker realm-got life partner. High of life cost and low of income pushed them to look for wife from other countries.

Attention to this case not only because big of increasing migrant bride that came to Taiwan, but also strength of this indication patter to be used to do recruitment to domestic sector worker without going through legal recruitment and allocation of BMI procedure. With that, strict rule, like waging and work hour limitation stander about dispatching and allocating BMI, could be avoided.
Women that were recruited directly tied on various cultural duties as wife. Thus, “husband family” could have double profit: got servant all at one wife to continue descent.


There was some economy motivation covered this case, started from women part that was became migrant bride, Taiwan men, until supplier agent or inter-nation marriage mediator.

Part that was advantaged of course was agent and mediator. On the other side, women that became wife became part that was most disadvantaged.

Problem, negotiation to balance bargain position between women who became migrant bride, supplier and mediator, and Taiwan men service receiver, was blocked by 3 layers discrimination.

First, it was economy discrimination, because they generally came from poor family realm. Second, was discrimination politically on citizenship matter, because generally they came from Tionghoa-Indonesia descent citizen. That other complex problem was discrimination in receiver country that had strict immigration regulation to push population growing.

Third, was cultural discrimination because there was women from patriarchy social system that created social value that underestimate women bargain degree as wife on family. Fortunately, although economically endured improvement, actually discrimination toward women in Taiwan was still quite strong.

Problem could be solved only by improved socialization about right information about real situation of migrant bride in Taiwan. Was needed politic effort and stimulants advocate movement and synergy in Indonesia or countries like Taiwan.

Syamsul Ardiansyah Researcher in Institute for National and Democratic Studies

Source: Kompas, Senin, 10 December 2007

Written by INDIES

March 19, 2008 at 1:31 am

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