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Are immigrant workers or foreign workers required to master Indonesian? Posted by on Oct 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

With the consideration of supporting the national economy and expanding employment opportunities through increased investment, the government considers the need to re-regulate licensing for the use of foreign workers.

Therefore, the government of Indonesia issued Presidential Regulation No. 20/2018 on the Use of Immigrant Workers in Indonesia. The new regulation aims at simplifying the permit application process for foreign workers, hence making the process more efficient and faster. Among the key changes that have been removed is mandatory for all immigrant workers in Indonesia to pass an Indonesian proficiency test.

President Joko Widodo “Jokowi” has instructed the Minister of Manpower to abolish the rules that require foreign workers (TKA) to master the Indonesian language if they want to work domestically. The removal of a requirement for Foreign Workers (TKA) to master Indonesian is considered to be able to encourage the pace of foreign investment in Indonesia.

However, this new regulation has been received differently by both Indonesian and foreign investor:

For the foreign investor, it is a welcome change, while the majority Indonesian strongly believed that requiring foreign workers to be fluent in Indonesian is considered as a way for the government to protect local workers from competition with foreign workers who are deemed to have better expertise.

The government’s decision to revoke foreign workers’ requirements to be fluent in Indonesian is considered to facilitate PMA – Foreign Investment considering that Indonesia is regarded as a country that is not friendly to foreign investors. Indonesia ranks 72nd among countries.

In conclusion: foreigners and domestic employers (who are employing foreigners or who want to hire foreigners) do not need to worry at all about the “mandatory Bahasa Indonesia” regulation. The government does encourage foreign workers to learn Indonesian, but it will not be enforced in any way.

Related words and phrases

How to say it in bahasa Indonesia How to say it in English
Peraturan Presiden (Perpres) Presidential Decree
Tenaga Kerja Asing (TKA) Immigrant worker; Foreign worker
Menguasai bahasa Indonesia To master Indonesian language
Berbahasa Indonesia dengan fasih Speak Indonesian fluently
mandatory mengharuskan

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About the Author:asimonoff

I’m an Indonesian language instructor, instructional material developer, reading test developer, and interpreter. I have been teaching Indonesian to adult students for 15 years, and have been teaching students from many backgrounds, such as private, military and diplomatic service employees. I’m Indonesian, but am living in the US now; my exposure to different cultures in my home country and in the US has enriched my knowledge in teaching Indonesian as a second language. I approach the teaching of the Indonesian language by developing students’ critical cultural awareness and competence. This method of teaching has been proven to be a key to the success of my students. Students become conscious of the essential role culture plays in the language.


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