A 2013 manpower ministry regulation requires foreign workers 'to be able to communicate in Indonesian,' but stops short of defining the level of proficiency the worker need to achieve in order to secure a working permit. (Antara Photo/Dhoni Setiawan)

Joko to Scrap Indonesian Language Requirement for Foreign Workers

BY :NOVY LUMANAUW

AUGUST 21, 2015

Jakarta. President Joko Widodo will drop a regulation that would require foreign workers to take an Indonesian language proficiency test, as part of his effort to brush up the country’s investment appeal.

The president has instructed his aides to eliminate all regulatory barriers in the central and regional administration that could hampers investment, cabinet secretary Pramono Anung said on Friday.

“It was asked specifically by the president to drop the Indonesian language proficiency requirement for foreign workers... to ensure the flow of investment,” he said.

Under a 2009 law on national language, the flag and national symbols, all locally-based businesses are required to use Indonesian as their main language of communication. The law also requires foreigners working in the country to take Indonesian language lessons.

A 2013 manpower ministry regulation requires foreign workers “to be able to communicate in Indonesian," but stops short of defining the level of proficiency they would need to achieve in order to secure working permit.

Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri had proposed in January to require all foreign workers to pass a standardized test for Indonesian language in order protect domestics jobs from a potential inflow of workers from neighboring countries as the Association of Southeast Asian Nation's Economic Community becomes effective next year.

The proposal met strong opposition from foreign and local investors alike, who were quick to point out that the severe lack of Indonesian study centers for foreigners would hamper their search for highly skilled workers, who they say are crucial for their businesses.

Indonesia attracted $6.8 billion of foreign direct investment outside the banking and petroleum sectors in the first half of 2015, a 18 percent rise from the same period last year, data from the Investment Coordinating Agency showed.

Investor Daily

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