Indonesian minister: No language test for expats
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Indonesia will not implement a policy requiring expatriates to pass an Indonesian language exam before being issued a work permit, according to Coordinating Minister for the Economy Sofyan Djalil.
"It’s just discourse, that kind of policy will never be implemented, believe me," he said on Monday, April 20.
The minister was speaking at a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum on East Asia 2015 in Jakarta. (LIVE: World Economic Forum on East Asia 2015)
He was referring to a controversial plan announced by Manpower Minister Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri in January to include the exam among the requirements for foreigners seeking to work in Indonesia – a measure seen to be a barrier aimed at protecting the Indonesian workforce ahead of the late 2015 onset of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). (READ: Why Indonesia wants expats to speak Indonesian or stay away)
The AEC is expected to herald a new era of free movement of people, goods and services across the region, but it has instead raised fears throughout the region of the threat of increased competition. (READ: Will Indonesia be competitive in an integrated ASEAN?)
Djalil's comments on Monday echo a Reuters report in March that quoted unnamed sources saying Indonesia's coordinating ministers had agreed that the planned regulation should be dropped.
The report also quoted a government official saying the plan would be withdrawn because "many people complained, including domestic investors who said they needed foreign expertise." (READ: How should Indonesia face the ASEAN Economic Community?)
In the same discussion, Lippo Group Executive Director John Riady highlighted the importance of opening up the labor market.
"Asia is going through so much change, putting pressure on obsolete institutions," he said. "We need to deregulate the market to allow the free movement of labor, not just goods and services." – Rappler.com