President Joko Widodo and VP Jusuf Kalla - Photo by President Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Indonesian government has reiterated its intention to simplify working permits for foreign workers as a move to fulfill the country needs for expert, improve business climate as well as supporting the spirit of openness of the country’s economy.

During the limited cabinet meeting on Tuesday (07/03), President Joko Widodo reminded that in a globalized economy like today, it is unavoidable that workers are working cross-border. Indonesia has sent workers abroad, including in East Asia and the Middle East and at the same time, the country receives the entry of foreign workers.

Therefore, He said, Indonesia needs to manage the entry of foreign workers well. In managing the entry of foreign workers, the President instructed his cabinet ministers to simplify the permits.

“This is important because the reports that I have received, the permits and procedures are still complicated. Simplify the procedures,” he told the ministers.

In addition, the President asked his ministers to improve coordination and in carrying out supervision, therefore foreign workers feel safe and secured when working in the country.

Ministries and government agencies that are involving in the process of foreign workers are including Directorate General for Immigration, Manpower Ministry as well as the Ministry for Law and Human Rights. Foreign workers have to deal with the three ministries.

In relation to foreign workers issue, the government will issue Presidential Decree which will contain articles on the simplification of working permits, said Coordinating Minister for the Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution.

Some of the foreign workers are needed to support the development of the national strategic projects. Therefore, simplification of workers permits procedures will also support the government’s drive to accelerate the development of the national infrastructure.

Nasution acknowledged that the Indonesian government is very concerned about how many foreigner nationals work in Indonesia and that the ones who do must add value in ways that local employees cannot.

Foreign experts are still required to provide training to local workers, upgrading them to expert status in various professions in the digital world, such as developers and programmers. However, the Minister admitted that he is still considering strategies to increase the number of experts in Indonesia periodically.

According to the Ministry of Manpower currently, there are 74,000 foreigners working in Indonesia, of whom as many as 21,000 are from China.

The leap in the number of Chinese workers coming in took place after the Indonesian government made several deals with the Chinese government, for several infrastructure projects such as power generation, mining, and transportation (Jakarta-Bandung Bullet Train).

Head of the Capital Investment Coordination Board Thomas Lembong earlier stated that the percentage of Chinese workers in Indonesia during the January-September 2016 period was small compared to China’s investment in the country.