Foreign Worker illustration (Photo: Pixabay)

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has instructed his administration to simplify the foreign workers permit process, which is known to be notoriously complicated. The President suspected that the complicated permit process to a certain extent affects the realization of foreign investments in the country.

President Widodo, therefore, instructed related ministries, including the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Manpower Ministry and the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry to simplify the working permit, and to do so within two weeks.

It is common knowledge that until now so many things related to foreign workers’ permits are still convoluted. Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung quoted the President as pointing this out here on Wednesday after a limited cabinet meeting he presided over.

This effort is to boost the “ease of doing business” in Indonesia to become more competitive, even though the country’s investment grade has improved.

Previously, President Widodo reminded relevant officials in his administration that now is the time for Indonesia to attract more investment, as the country is scoring well in global surveys and has a stable economic situation.

According to Anung, if this issue is not immediately resolved, the President will issue an executive decree to regulate it.

“This is because we should not complicate investment, nor impede people who want to come to work in this republic,” Anung remarked.

Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin 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.

Lembong remarked in a press statement here on Thursday that only 3,718 Chinese workers had been absorbed in Chinese projects during the January-September 2016 period, or about 0.3 percent of the total number of workers employed over the same period, which stood at 975,898 people.


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