The Jakarta Post
As a sign that Indonesia is embracing expatriates to help lure foreign investment, the government has lifted several restrictions on foreigners working in the country.
Aside from scrapping requirements for foreigners working in Indonesia to master Indonesian, the government will also ease the process of obtaining a Temporary Stay Permit ( KITAS ).
Newly appointed Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung said on Friday that such policies were part of the government's commitment to 'deregulate' all bureaucratic processes that have hampered the flow of foreign investment.
'The language requirement and the process to obtain a KITAS only make the process of attracting foreign investment harder and longer,' he said.
Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri said his office has followed up an instruction from President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo to eliminate the requirement for foreigners to master the Indonesian language.
Hanif said that he had already issued Ministerial Regulation No. 16/2015 on procedures for the employment of foreign workers on June 29 as a revision to a 2013 regulation stipulating the language requirement.
'The regulation issued in June does not require foreign workers to master the Indonesian language. Therefore, there is no need to worry about such a requirement,' Hanif told The Jakarta Post on Friday.
Although the regulation was issued in June, the ministry only made it public on Friday.
The new regulation, Hanif added, would also ensure faster and simpler procedures for foreign workers to get work permits as the entire process would be conducted online.
The new regulation has also overturned an earlier policy requiring foreign workers to have a university degree in order to be able to receive the working permit.
Foreign workers will only be required to have an 'education background that is fit for the job', a competency certificate or five years of experience.
'The competency requirement is needed to ensure that skills are the main reason for hiring foreign workers,' said Hanif.
'This also serves as a reminder to businesses that they should hire foreigners based on their competency, not their formal education.'
The new regulation will also require foreign workers to apply for the national social security ( JSN ) membership and a tax identification number ( NPWP ) after six months working in the country.
Hanif drew ire from the business community in March when he planned to enforce a 2013 ministerial regulation requiring existing and prospective foreign workers to pass an Indonesian language test.
The minister sought to establish an online Indonesian language proficiency test for foreign workers that would be accessible outside Indonesia for those yet to arrive here.
According to the ministry's records on expatriate employment permits ( IMTA ), the number of foreign workers in Indonesia in 2014 was around 68,500, lower than the 2012 total of 72,427.
Citizens of China, Japan, South Korea, India and Malaysia have dominated the expatriate communities.
The 2014 data also showed that 21,751 expatriates were categorized as professionals and 15,172 as advisers or consultants.
Almost 14,000 workers served as managers, 9,879 as directors, 6,867 as supervisors and 1,101 as commissioners.
The majority of the expatriates work in the trade and service, industry or agriculture sectors.
Hanif also called on all stakeholders, including the expatriates, to fully comply with all existing regulations, warning them not to violate their working permits.
'Because the regulations have been improved, we want all stakeholders to obey them. We can no longer tolerate expatriates abusing their permits or violating the regulations, he warned.