Back to School for Foreign Workers?

A draft government regulation that will require foreigners to master the Indonesian language before they are able to obtain a work permit here has elicited incredulity and skepticism from members of the local expatriate community, who responded to the announcement with criticism.

Earlier this month, Manpower Minister M. Hanif Dhakiri revealed that soon foreign workers would have to complete the Test of Indonesian as a Foreign Language, which is currently being developed by the ministry along with the University of Indonesia’s Language Development Center.

The exam will be part of a new set of requirements that will determine the eligibility of a foreigner to work in the archipelago. It is included in the ongoing revision of a 2013 Manpower Ministry regulation.

“We hope that the revision can be complete in February so we can immediately implement the Indonesian language skill test for foreign workers who wish to work in Indonesia,” Hanif was quoted as saying by state-run Antara news agency.