Labor Law-Repatriation of Foreigners (Here we go, again)

Discussion in 'Employment Law' started by Periwinkle, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    Hello All,

    I'm right now in a civil, but pretty frustrating dispute with my employers about this. I've recently finished my contract with my school (I did not resign, but I didn't sign a new contract and fulfilled all my obligations). They issued my EPO and I already have my passport with the stamp in it. I have purchased my own ticket to Singapore for the purposes of completing the EPO as I know it is unwise to overstay. I have also made arrangements for a visa to come back so all is good there.

    However, my job is refusing to buy me a ticket back to my country of origin, which is the United States. They said they will only buy a ticket to Singapore, and actually, when I spoke with the HR manager on the phone yesterday, he plainly lied and said they are not obligated to buy me a ticket at all, as if they are simply doing it out of the kindness of their hearts.

    I initially was just fine with a ticket to Singapore as I needed to go there anyway to process my new visa. I made my appointments with an agent after my school verified the date of my EPO. I asked my school a week in advance to please purchase an early morning flight so that I could make it to my agent's office in time. Low and behold, I get to my office on Friday afternoon and they haven't purchased the ticket!

    So, of course, a one way ticket to Singapore at this point will be far more expensive. Because of the price, they refused to buy the early morning flight. I explained to them that if they had bought the ticket in time, the price would not be so high. Then, they insisted that the maximum they could pay for my ticket is 1.3 million rupiah, a completely arbitrary number if you ask me. The HR manager was also downright dismissive and disrespectful, which really set me off.

    So now, I looked up the law and it does in fact stipulate that they are obligated to repatriate me to my country of origin. I have spoken to a lawyer and he has agreed that this is true. This is what he advised me to do before pursuing any legal action:

    Contact the HR of my school and explain what I know about the law and ask for an explanation as to why I am getting a budget of only 1.3 mil for a ticket. If possible, set up a meeting to discuss this matter with them fully. If they refuse to issue a ticket to the country of origin or to pay the equivalent, then I should issue a Surat Kuasa to the lawyer to begin the legal process.

    The first step in this will be to issue a warning letter to the school. The second step is to report the school to Dinas Tenaga Kerja. The last, and final step, would be to take the matter to district court.

    This will be an expensive process but I'm hoping the school will at least come my way somewhat before we have to take it too far. It seems as though the law is quite clear. I will keep updating on this post as it may be relevant to others in a similar situation.
     
  2. El_Goretto

    El_Goretto
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    Thank you for sharing.

    What those schools are banking on is the fact that if they refuse to comply, it is not worth it to pursue legal action. Whatever the ticket is worth will be eaten up in legal fees.

    I'm no expert and I hope someone can advise you better but you could threaten to report them and threaten legal action and hope they don't call your bluff. If they do, then I don't think it will be worth it to pursue any further and best to just move on.
     
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  3. sul1995

    sul1995 Member Charter Member Cager

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    Yes, the law stipulate that your employer is obliged to repatriate you to your country of origin. Your country of origin is the USA, but your employer may think differently. Did you apply for your job from the USA or Indonesia? If you apply in Indonesia, your employer may consider your point-of-hire as Indonesia. Hence, they don't feel obliged to buy your ticket out of Indonesia, not even to Singapore. Of course, you can sue, but remember that you are in Indonesia and you are the foreigner (even your lawyer is Indonesian). Justice here works differently than in the USA, I agree with El-Goretto, it is best to just move on.
     
  4. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    Yes, as both of you have said, I am hoping to not have to pursue legal action at all and that we can simply have a discussion to resolve the issue. I do not anticipate having to take it very far without at least having a conversation with them.
     
  5. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    UPDATE:

    My employers have replied to my email about the labor law and have said that they will only provide a ticket for the EPO to the United States if my new employer will send my TELEX to my home country.

    I have a new employer, but will not actually begin working with them right away, which is why I am coming back in on a non-working visa and will spend a month just vacationing/ relaxing.

    I'm unclear as to why the employer would need the telex to the U.S.? Can anyone clarify this?
     
  6. El_Goretto

    El_Goretto
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    I'm not sure where your new employer is required to send the telex to but I don't think it has anything to do with the obligations of your current employer.

    What happens after you finish your current employment has nothing to do with your current employer. Especially considering that you're not starting work immediately after and coming back on a tourist visa.
     
  7. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    Thanks, that's what I think as well but maybe I'm wrong? It sounds very fishy to me that he would bring up my new employer, almost like he's trying to threaten me somehow. I am coming back on a valid visa, and I will not be working, so I'm not sure if maybe he thinks my new job is planning to have me work illegally? That isn't the case, so why would he say that?? Hmmm...this is very strange.
     
  8. El_Goretto

    El_Goretto
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    @Periwinkle Probably trying to pull a fast one. Maybe you shouldn't have told him what your future plans were since they're none of their business. And if you are not doing anything illegal, nothing to worry about.
     
  9. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    Yeah, I understand, but always tend to worry a bit. It just makes me wonder because his tone in the email was extremely passive aggressive. He also knows that I am planning to EPO tonight. I went ahead and bought my ticket to Singapore because I knew it would be very unwise to overstay. He'll probably concede that once the EPO has happened, he's no longer under any obligation to provide the ticket, but I guess we will see.
     
  10. El_Goretto

    El_Goretto
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    Indeed, the timing isn't ideal and puts you at a disadvantage.
     
  11. Davita

    Davita Well-Known Member Charter Member

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    Is it possible he just wants to ensure you use the ticket and not refund it for cash?
     
  12. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    That could be, but even so, I'm not sure how where my next employer is sending my TELEX matters for them to buy the EPO ticket? I'm going to write another email to clarify.
     
  13. Davita

    Davita Well-Known Member Charter Member

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    I'm just guessing but maybe they want to see the telex from your next sponsor to the USA RI Embassy so they verify you will actually travel to the USA to get your next IMTA/Kitas.
     
  14. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    That makes sense, but I'm not sure I'm obligated to get my next IMTA in the place where they EPO me. Like El_Goretto mentioned, what I plan to do after the EPO really has nothing to do with them. It sounds as though they are going to try and say that it does, though.
     
  15. Davita

    Davita Well-Known Member Charter Member

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    Logically...if you can provide some assurance you will use the ticket to return, and not cash it, they may be satisfied to issue...is there a way?
     
  16. William King

    William King Well-Known Member Charter Member Cager

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    nothing to do with them, and the reality is that are messing around with laws they will not win. Stick it to them.
     
  17. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    Gosh, I don't know. I wasn't planning on going back to the States over my holiday, which is what they are counting on.
     
  18. atlantis

    atlantis
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    @Periwinkle,

    In order to understand their attitude I think that you have to consider the fact that you have, directly or indirectly, made a legal threat to them and that the law is on your side. You must obviously have made them realize that they should stick to the law which says:

    Pemberi kerja yang mempekerjakan tenaga kerja asing wajib memulangkan tenaga kerja asing ke negara asalnya setelah hubungan kerjanya berakhir.

    Not only they need to repatriate you but they are financially and legally liable about you until you get repatriated. It's not only paying for a ticket, it's sending you (physically) back, making sure you are repatriated. They stick to the law and want to make sure they have a proof that they have done everything they could to exonerate themselves from any liability.

    Not only the Manpower law but also the Immigration law stipulates that they, as your initial sponsor, have a liability concerning you and anything you may do. As an employer, this is not something I would take lightly.

    If I were you I would kindly answer them that you do not plan to work immediately, that the law impose them your repatriation and that in no way any future employer should/have to be involved. The procedure of repatriation concerns only THEM.
     
  19. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    Thank you Atlantis. I'm still waiting for them to clarify for me why they initially told me that I can only spend 1.3 million on a ticket.

    What I'm hoping they DON'T do is simply buy a refundable ticket for an impossible date (like tomorrow or something) and then say, well we bought her the ticket, she didn't accept, our obligation is fulfilled. And then just get a refund for their ticket. I think by the tone in their email they are counting on me not actually using the ticket to fly out.
     
  20. Periwinkle

    Periwinkle Member

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    Also, I have already completed the EPO. So, I'm not sure if they will then say that it's too late for me to claim I want a US ticket.

    But it seems I was in the right here. I'm not going to sit around and argue with them while the clock runs down on my EPO. I had an obligation to leave the country so that is what I did.
     
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