Historically, there has been considerable migration from and to China. Following a decree banning foreigners from participating in retail trade in rural Indonesia, some 120,000 Chinese left Indonesia in 1960 and the first six months of 1961. After the attempted coup of 1965 and the resultant deterioration in relations with China, many more Chinese left Indonesia. Migration between the Netherlands and Indonesia has been greatly reduced since independence; nearly all the 250,000 Netherlands nationals in Indonesia in 1949 returned home.
Resettlement of people from crowded areas to the less populous outer islands is official government policy. The 1979– 84 National Economic Plan had as a target the "transmigration" of 500,000 families from Java, Bali, and Madura to Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku Province, and Irian Jaya. Participation was voluntary, and the actual number of families that resettled was about 366,000, containing about 1.5 million people. Since the annual population increase of Java is more than two million, the costly transmigration scheme did little to relieve that island's human congestion, but it had a considerable impact in developing sparsely settled areas. Each family was entitled to 2 ha (5 acres) and was provided with housing, food, seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides, and other supplies that it could use to become productive. Under the 1987–91 plan, 338,433 families were resettled.
First asylum was granted to over 145,000 Indochinese refugees between 1975 and 1993. Of these refugees, 121,708 were from Vietnam. Of the Vietnam asylum seekers, 112,000 had left for resettlement in the West by March of 1996. A total of 8,400 returned home voluntarily, and 4,300 remained on Galang Island. This remaining group of Vietnamese are also expected to return home. In 1999 the net migration rate for Indonesia was zero.