New Indonesian labour laws
requiring ten locals for every foreign worker need not cause any concern, says the government, advising that companies can simply hire more drivers and “office boys” to make tea.
“There is no need to be afraid,” Ruwiyono Septy Priharso, head of the work permit section at the Manpower Ministry, said in a speech to foreign business people at a recent seminar about the country’s new labour rules.
He suggested businesses could fill this quota by employing low-paid staff such as “office boys” – a term used to describe young men hired to do routine tasks about the workplace.
“[These employees] do not need to be permanent workers, but it is better if they are,” Priharso said.
Regulations that require non-resident foreign company directors to obtain a work permit were also hampering efforts to establish and manage business operations, Priharso acknowledged.
Technical issues and a lack of staff were both noted as bottlenecks in an application process which includes a one-on-one Skype interview with officials at the Manpower Ministry.
Tighter foreign labour laws have reduced the number of overseas workers in Indonesia with figures falling from 77,000 workers in 2012 to 54,000 in 2015 – a drop of 30 per cent – according to official government statistics.
Despite this, local unions are pushing for even stricter controls which may ultimately make it more difficult for overseas companies to do business in Indonesia.
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