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Overseas Indonesian

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Overseas Indonesian

Overseas Indonesians
Total population
5,313,000 estimated
Regions with significant populations
 Malaysia est 2,500,000
 Saudi Arabia est 1,500,000[1]
 Netherlands 410,800
 Singapore est 200,000
 Taiwan 161,000
 Hong Kong 102,100[2]
 United Arab Emirates 100,000[3]
 Suriname 90,000[4]
 Australia 86,196[5]
 United States 70,000
 South Korea 50,000[6]
 Philippines 43,871
 Qatar 36,000
 Japan 30,567[7][8]
 Canada 14,300
 New Caledonia 7,000
Indonesian, Javanese, Minangkabau, Buginese, other Indonesia languages, English, Chinese
Majority Sunni Islam · Christianity · Hinduism · Buddhism
Related ethnic groups
Native Indonesians, Chinese Indonesians

An Overseas Indonesian is a person of Indonesian origin who lives outside of 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 TKI). Most of them settled in Malaysia, UAE, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Netherlands, United States,Australia and Timor Leste.

Indonesians Worldwide


An estimated 2,500,000 Indonesian citizens in Malaysia soil at any given time, due to a constant migration since the age of antiquity from Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan and Celebes, the number of Malaysian with at least some Indonesian ancestry may be up to millions more.

United Arab Emirates


There are about 36,000 Indonesian citizens in the State of Qatar.


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 helper, 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. Singaporean citizens of Indonesian descent make the bulk of the Malay population in Singapore.


Indonesia was the colony of the Netherlands. In the early 20th century, many Indonesian students studied in the Netherlands. Most of them lived in Leiden and were active in Indonesian Vereeniging. During 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 12,500 persons were settled in the Netherlands. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Denny Landzaat, Roy Makaay, Mia Audina, and Daniel Sahuleka are famous people of Indonesian ancestry in the Netherlands.

United Kingdom

United States

In the United States, most Indonesians are students and professionals. Boston University and Harvard University are favorite schools for Indonesian people. 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.[9] In April 2011 the Special English service of Voice of America reported on the push to get more Indonesians to study in the United States.

Saudi Arabia

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 Al Azhar University in Cairo.


Before Dutch and British sailors arrived at 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.


The Indonesian people, mainly Javanese, make up 15% of the population 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.[10]


In 2013 approximately 20,000 Indonesians living in Japan, including about 3,000 illegal Indonesians. These numbers are dropped from the previous years because of various reasons. Two reasons are the high cost living in Japan and difficulties to find jobs in Japan.

Hong Kong

South Korea



See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Media Indonesia Online 2006-11-30
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ noti0096&strWrtNo=126&strAnsNo=A&strOrgGbnCd=104000&strRtnURL=IMM_6050&strAllOrgYn=N&strThisPage=1&strFilePath=imm/
  7. ^ Sakurai 2003: 33
  8. ^ Sakurai 2003: 41
  9. ^ Meet Marvell Forbes Article
  10. ^ English Not On Menu For Wednesday's Press Briefing
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