Jakarta – The government has suspended entry for foreign workers during the COVID-19 outbreak following reports that hundreds of Chinese workers have tried to enter Southeast Sulawesi.
"The government aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by limiting foreigners from entering the country. This policy will be in effect until the situation improves," presidential spokeswoman for legal matters Dini Purwono said on Monday.
Two companies in Southeast Sulawesi, PT Virtue Dragon Nickel Industry (VDNI) and PT Obsidian Stainless Steel (OSS), had planned to bring in 500 foreign workers from China to install smelter equipment. The companies claimed they had to outsource the workers due to a lack of capable local workers and said that once the equipment was ready, the company would hire 3,000 local workers.
The foreign workers were scheduled to in Indonesia for six months and return to their home country once the installation was complete. The workers have yet to arrive in Indonesia.
Dini said the foreign workers would be allowed to enter the country once the outbreak was under control.
She added that the workers will be subjected to a series of tests and health protocols to ensure they were free from COVID-19 when they entered Indonesia in the future.
"As for now, the Manpower Ministry is coordinating with the Southeast Sulawesi governor as well as the South Sulawesi Regional Legislative Council to find a solution that prevents the spread of COVID-19 while also ensuring that the project, which will employ 3,000 workers, can continue because this involves many people's livelihoods," she said. (dpk)