What is the change? Indonesia is currently discussing rules on language proficiency for foreign nationals applying for new work permits and expatriate workers applying for extensions.

What does the change mean? Until an official rule is announced, the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration is recommending that foreign nationals who have been in the country for six months or longer undergo training to prove proficiency in the Bahasa language.

  • Implementation timeframe: The proposal is in the planning stages and an announcement on any new rules is expected between now and July.
  • Visas/permits affected: New and renewal work permit applications.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals applying for work permits or living in Indonesia for six months or longer.
  • Impact on processing times: If language proficiency becomes a requirement, it will add to the steps in the visa application or renewal process.
  • Business impact: Foreigners should be aware that this requirement may be imposed in the near future and may want to begin a language training course and take an Indonesian Language Proficiency Test.
  • Next steps: BAL is following this development and will inform clients when the ministry announces an official rule.

Background: The ministry recommends that foreign nationals who have been living in Indonesia for six months or more take language training and an examination. There is no official list of accepted language training courses. A proficiency exam is approximately two hours.

The language proficiency rules, which are expected to be announced in the coming months, could cover new and renewal work permit applicants or could set language proficiency standards for certain job levels.

BAL Analysis: Employers are advised to consider language proficiency training for foreign work permit applicants and expatriate workers already living in Indonesia who will be applying for extensions. This would reduce delays in the application and renewal processes in the event of a rule change imposing a new language requirement.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Indonesia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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