As per 1 January 2016, the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations join forces in the coming economic integration, ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). Although the new community aims to ease the flow of investment and capital, many Indonesians are concerned about their chances to compete with an influx of foreign workers.
Responding to the local workforce’s growing concerns, Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri says that the AEC will bring both benefits and challenges for its members. He predicts that the number of foreign workers in Indonesia will not exceed 70 thousand a year.
But the minister assures the public that foreign workers will only be allowed to work in certain sectors, leaving many more opportunities for locals.
“My prediction is that there will be no significant growth because this AEC should not be mistaken for everyone, AEC only relates to eight professions,” Dhariki emphasizes.
These eight professions open for foreign workers include consultants, surveyors, dentists, medical practitioners, accountants and other professions requiring special skills. The local workforce, on the other hand, will excel in the tourism sector according to Dhakiri.
Dhariki encourages the local workforce to remain positive about this change and work on improvement strategies. “The first need is to remain optimistic, next figure out what steps will be taken to achieve greater results,” he says.
Furthermore, the minister expects the local workforce to improve their competitiveness in order to keep creating work opportunities and expand Indonesia’s market in ASEAN.