On Monday (19 October), a spokesperson from the manpower ministry said that the government would not require, but only recommend, that foreigners learn the local language. This would help to transfer both knowledge and technology to Indonesian workers, he added.
“There is no language requirement for foreigners,” Heri Sudarmanto, director of foreign workers, told Reuters
. “This requirement will not be applied to foreign workers looking to extend their work permit.”
Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri, a senior advisor to the manpower minister confirmed these statements saying that the government would not impose any such language requirements.
However, he stated that local administrations could independently adopt these measures.
These comments contradict what the Indonesian government has said previously about stricter language requirements for foreign workers. In July, new rules were proposed
stating that foreigners would have to even have a certificate in Bahasa prior to working in the country.
To further confuse matters, the head of the work permit section at the manpower ministry, Ruwiyono Septy Priharso, said last Thursday (15 October) that language tests were compulsory for those planning on working longer within Indonesia.
“Due to strong responses from the media and the House of Representatives, we plan to revise the regulation and reinstate the requirement, but only if a foreign worker seeks to extend his or her work permit after working for a year [in Indonesia],” he said.
At the time of writing, foreigners aren’t required to speak Indonesian to get their work permit. However, HR directors managing staff in Indonesia are advised to keep tabs on developments here in case the local government backflips again on the issue.
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The Indonesian government has said it will not compel workers to undergo examinations in Bahasa prior to working there in news which is sure to be a relief for any regional HR directors recruiting staff for local operations.