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If You Know What I Mean?

Indonesian Government to Require Language Proficiency from Foreign Workers Starting in 2011.

(11/13/2010) The government has announced that all foreign workers in Indonesia will soon be obliged to undergo a certification process to ensure they have a competency in Indonesian language in order to obtain working and immigration permits.

The new language requirement regulation will come into force in 2011, with the rule awaiting the President's signature for final implementation to take place.

As reported by Bisnis Indonesia, the head of the language enrichment division of the Ministry of Education, Mustakim, said the testing of Indonesian language proficiency for foreign workers will be similar to the TOEFL test for English skills and will result in a certificate of proficiency for those who pass the test.

Defending the new policy, Mustakim said: "This is a balanced principle, moreover, within Bank Indonesia all foreign consultants are now required to be able to speak Indonesian. Those who cannot are entered into language courses."

To date, only 100 foreign workers have followed the language skill testing. However, the number of foreign workers increases each year with 47,320 foreign workers registered in 2007; 53,150 registered in 2008; and 59,577 registered through May 2010.

The largest number of foreign workers hail from China (11,458), followed by Japan (7,135), South Korean (4,437), Malaysia (3,688), Thailand (3,606), Australia (3,491), U.S.A. (3,307), U.K. (2,851), Philippines (2,675) and all other nations combines (15,929).

Bisnis Indonesia says the majority of foreign workers are employed in professional capacities such as educators, while other occupations include technicians, managers, directors, consultants, supervisors and company commissioners.