The Indonesian government has announced that not all foreign workers are required to learn the Indonesian language in order to be employed in the country.

Sahat Sinurat, spokesman for the Manpower Ministry, said that under a presidential order issued in March, it was the responsibility of employers to facilitate language training for some of their foreign workers, The Straits Times reported.

However, Sahat clarified that foreign workers were not obliged to learn the language and that the policy did not apply to foreign workers employed in emergency or urgent situations, temporary employment or major positions in companies.

Many foreign workers were stunned by a report in The New York Times on June 23 saying that foreigners were required to undergo formal training in Indonesia’s official language.

Article 26 of the Presidential Regulation states that employers are to facilitate Indonesian language training for their foreign workers. However, a foreign worker does not need to know the language before his or her move to Indonesia.

Heri Sudarmanto, secretary general of the Manpower Ministry, said foreign workers were not required to obtain an Indonesian language certificate, but were only encouraged to learn the language.

He said foreigners were still able to continue working in Indonesia without adhering to the policy.