How to arrange work permits and visas for staff moving to Indonesia

October 9, 2019


With Southeast Asia’s second largest economy, Indonesia is an attractive choice when it comes to expanding business into overseas markets. Over the last 10 years, Indonesia has seen steady growth and is set to become the fourth-largest economy in the world by 2050.

With such a fast-growing economy, Indonesia presents important opportunities for organisations in a variety of sectors, including construction, oil and gas, mining and metals, and electronics. But if you’re planning to mobilise your workforce there, you’ll need to take several considerations into account.

This blog looks at how to arrange visas and work permits for staff relocating to Indonesia, as well as any other immigration processes that need to be addressed from an HR perspective.

Different types of visa in Indonesia

Previously, employees relocating to Indonesia needed to have a work permit (IMTA). This has now been replaced with a notification from the Ministry of Manpower.

International workers will be issued a limited stay permit (VITAS) and an electronic limited stay permit (ITAS).

An ITAS grants employees to work in Indonesia, as well as open up a bank account and earn a salary. With this type of permit, they will also be able to stay in the country and, after three years, apply for permanent residency.

Employees can also apply for a permanent stay visa (KITAP), but this is only available to staff who have held an ITAS for three consecutive years or more.

As the employer, you will need to apply for an ITAS on behalf of your employees, unless you work alongside a global mobility company, who will carry out the process for your organisation.

How to apply for an ITAS

In 2018, Indonesia developed a new Work Permit Regulation to allow for faster processing of work permits.

As of July 11th, 2018, the process of applying for a work permit in Indonesia is as follows:

1. Submit an RPTK to the Ministry of Manpower risk-icon-accept-checkmark

In order to employ a foreign national in Indonesia, you will need to
get formal approval from the government before applying for a VITAS permit. You should submit your request either as a letter from the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) indicating the signing of a contract, or as an announcement letter (SPT).

You will also need to submit an Expatriate Placement Plan (RPTKA) to the Ministry of Manpower. Without this, the government will not issue an ITAS to your employee.

However, there are some exceptions to the rule.

If the employee works in any of the following roles, they won’t need to apply for an RPTKA:

  • Director or commissioner (shareholders and members of the board)
  • Counsel or diplomatic officer to foreign company representatives
  • Those working in specific types of government work

2. Apply for an IMTA risk-icon-accept-checkmark

When the RPTKA has been approved, you’ll need to apply for an IMTA for your employee. To do this, you will need to provide the following information about the applicant:

  • Nationality
  • Place and date of birth
  • Gender
  • Passport number and how long it is valid for
  • Job role
  • Certificates of work experience and education
  • How long they have worked for your organisation

It will take up to two working days for this information to be processed and approved by the Ministry of Manpower.

Your employee’s IMTA will be valid for a minimum of one year; this can be extended depending on how long the RPTKA is valid for (up to two years). 

3. Apply for a VITASrisk-icon-accept-checkmark

Once the IMTA request has been approved, you will need to apply
for a VITAS via the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). The board will issue a recommendation letter to the Department of Immigration to confirm that a VITAS has been provided to the international worker.

The new regulations state that you can now apply for an ITAS at an Indonesian embassy using a form that enables you to simultaneously apply for a VITAS. Within two days of submitting the application, you will receive the VITAS and an ITAS approval letter; the employee must present this to the immigration authorities when they arrive in Indonesia in order to get their ITAS.

Requirements when applying for an ITAS

There are a number of requirements candidates will need to demonstrate in order to obtain an Indonesian work permit. Generally, your workers will need:

  • An education related to the industry they intend to work in
  • A minimum of five years work experience related to the position, or a certificate
    of competence
  • Proof of life insurance / health insurance for their entire stay in Indonesia

Age requirements for a work permit in Indonesia

Though workers are generally eligible for a work permit at any age in Indonesia, some industries do have specific rules surrounding age limitation.

For example, as regulated by the Indonesian Ministry of Energy, employees in the oil and gas industry need to be aged between 30 and 55 to work in the country. However, age restrictions are not applicable to the highest-level position in your organisation, such as directors or commissioners.

Extending a work permit

If you want to extend an employee’s work permit, you will only need to pay the second-year DKP-TKA. The bill will be sent by the Ministry of Manpower one month before the notification is due to expire.

Any workers holding a permit valid for less than two years can submit a new application or extension at least two months before the notification expires.

If the thought of sorting out a work permit sounds like a lot of hassle, don’t worry. Working with a global mobility team takes the burden from you, so you can focus on running your business. For more information, visit our global mobility page.

Find out about global mobility services from Airswift

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This post was written by: Charles Pfauwadel, Regional Director – Asia Pacific at Airswift

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