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Overseas Indonesians

Overseas Indonesians
Total population
c. 8 million (2015)[1]
Regions with significant populations
 Malaysiaest 2,500,000 (2014)[2]
 Netherlandsest 1,800,000 (2013)[3]
 Saudi Arabiaest 1,500,000 (2014)[4]
 Singaporeest 200,000 (2010)[5]
 United States187,220 (2017)[6]
 Taiwan161,000 (2010)[7]
 Hong Kong102,100 (2006)[8]
 United Arab Emirates100,000 (2006)[9]
 Australia86,196 (2017)[10]
 Suriname74.000 (2010)[11]
 Japan49,982 (2017)[12][13][14]
 Philippines43,817 (2000)[15]
 Qatar39,000 (2013)[16]
 South Korea33,195 (2017)[17]
 Germany16,738 (2014)[18]
 Russia15,520 (2006)[19]
 Canada14,320 (2006)[19]
 United Kingdom9,624 (2011)[20][21][22][23]
 Macau6,269 (2012)[24]
 Christmas Island981 (2010)[25]
Islam · Christianity · Hinduism · Buddhism · Irreligion
Related ethnic groups
Native Indonesians, Chinese Indonesians

Overseas Indonesians people of Indonesian origin who live outside Indonesia. This term applies to people of Indonesian birth and descent who are citizens or residents of temporary status.


Many Indonesians go abroad as students, or labourers (known as "Tenaga Kerja Indonesia" or TKI). Most of them settle in Malaysia, UAE, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Netherlands, United States, and Australia.

Indonesians Worldwide


Malaysia shares a land border with Indonesia and both countries share many aspects of their culture, including mutually intelligible national languages. Populations have long moved between the areas which make up the modern-day states. Since the distinction between thre two regions emerged in the early 19th century, many people from Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra, and Sulawesi, which are located in modern-day Indonesia, migrated and settled in the Malay Peninsula and in Malaysian Borneo. These earlier populations have mostly effectively or partially assimilated with the larger Malaysian-Malay community due to religious, social and cultural similarities. Currently, it is also estimated that there are around 2 million Indonesian citizens in Malaysia at any given time, ranging from all types of background with a significant majority of them consisting of labour migrants, with a considerable number of professionals and students.


The Malays in Singapore (Malay: Orang Melayu Singapura) make up about 14% of the country's population. Most of them came from what we know today as Indonesia and southern Malaysia. In the 19th century, Singapore was part of Johor-Riau Sultanate. Many Indonesian people, mainly Bugis and Minangkabau settled in Singapore. From 1886 till 1890, as many as 21,000 Javanese became bonded labourers with the Singapore Chinese Protectorate, an organisation formed by the British in 1877 to monitor the Chinese population. They performed manual labour in the rubber plantations. After their bond ended, they continued to open up the land and stayed on in Johore. Famous Singaporeans of Indonesian descent are the first president of Singapore Yusof bin Ishak, and Zubir Said who composed the national anthem of Singapore Majulah Singapura.

According to the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore, as of 2010 there are 180,000 Indonesian citizens in Singapore. As much as 80,000 work as domestic helpers/TKI, 10,000 as sailors, and the rest are either students or professionals. But the number can be higher as registering one's residence is not compulsory for Indonesians, putting the number to around 200,000 people.


Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands from 1605 until 1945. In the early 20th century, many Indonesian students studied in the Netherlands. Most of them lived in Leiden and were active in the Perhimpoenan Indonesia (Indonesian Association). During and after the Indonesian National Revolution, many Moluccans and Indo people, people of mixed Dutch and Indonesian ancestry migrated to the Netherlands. Most of them were ex-KNIL army. In this way around 360,000 Indo people (Indo's)and Totok's (white people) and 12,500 persons from Maluke ancestry were settled in the Netherlands. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Denny Landzaat, Roy Makaay, Mia Audina, and Daniel Sahuleka are notable people of Indonesian ancestry from the Netherlands. These 372,500 first generation people and their 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation offspring account for some 1.6 million Dutch passport-holders. This is as much as about 10% of the overall population of the Netherlands.

United Kingdom

United States

In the United States, most Indonesians are students and professionals. Boston University and Harvard University are examples of favourite universities for Indonesians. In the Silicon Valley region of Northern California, there are many professional Indonesian-American engineers in the high-tech industry that are employed in companies such as Cisco Systems, KLA Tencor, Google, Yahoo, Sun Microsystems, and IBM. Sehat Sutardja, CEO of Marvell Technology Group, is one of the successful Indonesian professional in USA.[26]

In April 2011 the Special English service of Voice of America reported on a push for American universities to get more Indonesians to study in America as part of reaching out fast-growing economies like Indonesia in order to compete with students' preferred universities in Australia, Singapore, and Malaysia.[27]

Saudi Arabia

Indonesian pilgrims have long lived in Hejaz, a region along the west coast of Saudi Arabia. Among them was Ahmad Khatib, who served as the Imam of the Shafi'i school of law at the mosque known as Masjidil Haram, Mecca.[28]

Most of Indonesians in Saudi Arabia are female domestic workers, with a minority of other types of labour migrants and students. Most of the santri extension studied in Saudi, as well as Islamic University in Madina. A number of Indonesian expatriates in Saudi Arabia work in diplomatic sectors or are employees to local or foreign companies located in various province of Saudi Arabia such as SABIC, Schlumberger, Halliburton, or Indomie. Many of Indonesians are also employees to the world's biggest oil company Saudi Aramco. Most Indonesians in Saudi Arabia reside in Riyadh, Jeddah, and all around Dammam area.

United Arab Emirates


There are about 39,000 Indonesian citizens in the State of Qatar according to the Indonesian Embassy.[29]


Before Dutch and British sailors arrived in Australia, Indonesians from Southern Sulawesi have explored the Australia northern coast. Each year, the Bugis sailors would sail down on the northwestern monsoon in their wooden pinisi. They would stay in Australia for several months to trade and take tripang (or dried sea cucumber) before returning to Makassar on the dry season off shore winds. These trading voyages continued until 1907.[citation needed] Nowadays, mostly Indonesian whose reside in Australia are either foreign students or workers, the main ethnic group mostly are the Chinese from Indonesia. Furthermore, the Cocos Malays are descendants of native Indonesians were brought by the Clunies-Ross family to work in the copra industry in the 19th century.


People of Indonesian descent, mainly Javanese, make up 15% of the population of Suriname. In the 19th century, the Dutch sent the Javanese to Suriname as contract workers in plantations. The most famous person of Indonesian descent is Paul Somohardjo as the speaker of the National Assembly of Suriname.[30]


In 2013 approximately 20,000 Indonesians living in Japan, including about 3,000 illegal Indonesians. These numbers dropped from the previous years because of various reasons, reasons include the high cost of living in Japan and the difficulties to find jobs in Japan. Most of them are in Japan for short term and deportation remains high for Indonesian residents.

Hong Kong

Indonesian are the second largest foreigner group after Filipino, mainly are the female domestic helper from Java Island, there are also several Chinese Indonesians family and student that reside in Hong Kong. Central and Wan Chai are the main district that mostly Indonesians living in.

South Korea


Indonesians in the Philippines number anywhere from 43,871 to 101,720. They reside mostly in the island of Mindanao, in the Muslim parts with a noticeable community in Davao City that has an international school for the overseas community. They tend to be protective of their separate ethnic identity. Most are Muslims, while many others are also Christian, coming from Minahasan-speaking ancestry.


South Africa

See also


  1. ^ "Memanfaatkan Diaspora Indonesia". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  2. ^ "Di Hadapan BMI Malaysia, Menlu Retno Tekankan Prioritas Perlindungan WNI" (in Indonesian). Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur. 27 January 2015. Archived from the original on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016. Diperkirakan terdapat sekitar 2,5 juta warga Indonesia berada di Malaysia, dimana hampir setengahnya berstatus ilegal.
  3. ^ "Ada 1,8 Juta Diaspora Indonesia di Belanda". Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  4. ^ Kompasiana (2016). Kami Tidak Lupa Indonesia. Bentang Pustaka. ISBN 9786022910046.
  5. ^ "Kian ramai dari Indonesia jadi warga" (PDF) (in Malay). Berita Harian. 20 February 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  6. ^ "Meet Marvell" (PDF). Forbes Magazine. 14 August 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2006.
  7. ^ "Indonesia, Taiwan sign agreement on migrant protections". The Jakarta Post. 30 April 2011. Archived from the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  8. ^ Media Indonesia Online 30 November 2006
  9. ^ Ramona Ruiz (30 May 2012). "Indonesian envoy wants fewer maids sent to UAE". The National. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Statistics".[dead link]
  11. ^ "Meet Marvell" (PDF). Forbes Magazine. 14 August 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2006.
  12. ^ Sakurai 2003: 33
  13. ^ Sakurai 2003: 41
  14. ^ Archived copy (PDF). Ministry of Justice. 13 April 2018. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-03-27. Retrieved 13 April 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ Population by country of citizenship, sex, and urban/rural residence; each census, 1985–2004, United Nations Statistics Division, 2005, retrieved 2011-06-15
  16. ^ Snoj, Jure (18 December 2013). "Population of Qatar". Archived from the original on 22 December 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  17. ^ KIS Statistics 2013 (PDF). Korean Immigration Service. 29 May 2014. p. 378. ISSN 2005-0356. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  18. ^ Indonesians in Germany - their engagement in the development (2016)
  19. ^ a b Census 2006
  20. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 11 May 2005. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  21. ^ "2011 Census: Country of birth (expanded), regions in England and Wales". Office for National Statistics. 26 March 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  22. ^ "Country of birth (detailed)" (PDF). National Records of Scotland. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  23. ^ "Country of Birth - Full Detail: QS206NI". Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  24. ^ "Macau Population Census". Census Bureau of Macau. May 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  25. ^ Simone Dennis (2008). Christmas Island: An Anthropological Study. Cambria Press. pp. 91–. ISBN 9781604975109.
  26. ^ "Meet Marvell" (PDF). Forbes Magazine. 14 August 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 October 2006.
  27. ^ Ember, Steve; Schonhardt, Sara (13 April 2011). "A Push to Get More Indonesians to Study in US". VoA. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  28. ^ Ricklefs, M.C. (1994). A History of Modern Indonesia Since c. 1300. Stanford University Press.
  29. ^ Snoj, Jure (18 December 2013). "Population of Qatar". Archived from the original on 22 December 2013.
  30. ^ "English Not On Menu For Wednesday's Press Briefing". Malaysian National News Agency. 22 September 2005. Retrieved 24 June 2016.