Indonesia: Bahasa test to be introduced for expat workers

Published:  16 Jan at 12 PM
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Tagged: Moving, Visas, Australia
The Indonesian government has proposed that expatriates in the country should have to master the Bahasa language before being granted work permits.

At the beginning of the year, Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri announced that the Test of Indonesia as a Foreign Language exam was being drawn up and that expat workers would soon be required to pass it in order to obtain the necessary documents.

The test is being developed as part of a method of determining a foreign worker’s eligibility, and was part of the Manpower Ministry’s proposed new regulatory guidelines drawn up in 2013. Its aim is to protect local workers from the influx of foreigners by tightening up the rules.

Australian expat Keith Whitchurch, who has lived in Indonesia for 10 years, agrees with the move, pointing out that it was in line with procedures in other countries. He noted that before moving to English-speaking countries, those coming from non-English speaking nations were required to obtain proficiency certificates such as IELTS or TOEFL.

Whitchurch, the president director of Australian-owned mining firm SMG Consultants, was wary about how the new guidelines would affect foreigners who already have permits, however.

He advised the government to put a transition period in place so companies that would be affected had time to plan ahead with regards to their current employees. He went on to say that it would also be crucial the government ensured the same rules were applied to all companies if it was serious about introducing the new regulations.
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