New manpower law would force foreigners to take Indonesian language proficiency tests starting Feb

Bules and other foreign workers in Indonesia, watch out (or should we say “awas?”)! According to the Ministry of Labor, starting as early as February of this year, foreigners who want to work in Indonesia might be required to learn and display fluency in Indonesian. Specifically, foreign workers would have to take an Indonesian proficiency test and score at a certain level to be allowed to work in the country.

This new regulation would come from a revision to a 2013 Labour Ministry policy governing foreign manpower use. The revision is expected to be cleared with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights in February.

“We hope that next February the revision will be approved and the testing of foreign workers and their Indonesian abilities can be implemented,” said Labour Minister M Hanif Dhakiri in a written release on Friday, according to Detik.

Hanif said his ministry has teamed up with the Language Development Institute at the University of Indonesia to develop the proficiency test. 

Hanif added that, in addition to testing their Indonesian abilities, the revision to the foreign manpower law would require foreign workers to upload their work permit documents through an online system.


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