Unregistered Marriages of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Malaysia

Contrasting Positions of State Agents

In: Sociology of Islam

Indonesia is known in Malaysia as the main supplier of migrant workers. Under the Immigration Act and based on their working contracts, Indonesian migrant workers cannot marry in Malaysia during their contract period. Hence, unregistered marriages are common among Indonesian migrant workers in Malaysia. This article investigates both the perspectives of migrant workers who have entered into non-state-registered marriages and the strategies of Indonesian diplomatic representatives in dealing with unregistered marriages of Indonesian migrant workers. Observing a growing trend of both unregistered marriages and of the recognition of such marriages by state agents, this article emphasizes the importance of taking into account the social, political, and religious context to understand how the law operates and how these workers navigate the constraints they are facing.

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