To work legally in Indonesia, you must have a work permit (IMTA). Based on the work permit (IMTA), the Indonesian Immigration will issue your limited stay permit (VITAS) and the limited stay permit card (KITAS).
In this article, I should explain what it will take to obtain a work permit (IMTA), what can be expected during the process of getting one, and other necessary details.
The information I am going to share will be based on two legal instruments: the Work Permit Regulation (No. 16/2015) and its October 2015 update (No. 35/2015).
We will keep visible here the details which the newer regulation has changed. Many agents are unaware of these changes, and may provide you with incorrect information.
Should you need further assistance on securing your work permit in Indonesia, feel free to contact us!
How is a work permit (IMTA) different from a business visa?
A business visa is used for business trips, such as short courses, seminars, trainings, and meetings. A work permit is used for you to work full-time and receive salary in the country that issues the permit.
If you are a Director/Commissioner in an Indonesian-registered company and plan to stay in Indonesia, you need to get a work permit (IMTA). This is even if you do not receive a salary from your position as a Director/Commissioner.
If you are a Director/Commissioner (in an Indonesian-registered company) who live outside Indonesia, yet frequently visit Indonesia under a business visa, you will need to secure a work permit (IMTA) as well.
This is often confusing for foreign investors — but it is better to follow the law and secure your work permit (IMTA) than to have the Immigration Office found you breaking the Immigration law. Indeed, the punishment for this can be harsh: up to 500 million IDR and 5 years of imprisonment.
What are the general requirements of obtaining a work permit (IMTA)?
From Article 36, Government Regulation No. 35, Year 2015:
- An educational background related to the position you are going to assume in Indonesia;
- A certificate of competence, or 5 years working experience related to the position (a letter of reference is sometimes required);
- Proof of health/life insurance for your whole stay in Indonesia.
The general requirements do not specify any age limitation. Taking this into account, you can be eligible for a work permit (IMTA) at basically any age — even as young as 21 years old — provided that you already possess at least 5 years of work experience.
Requirements for artists (impresarios), or for foreign workers assuming an urgent or temporary position, may differ. More specific rules may also apply depending on your respective industry.
If you work in the Oil and Gas Industry, for example, you are required by Regulation no. 31, year 2013 from the Indonesian Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to be of 30-55 years of age.
This age restriction need not apply if you occupy the highest-level position in your company, such as Director or Chief of the Representative Office; or the position of a Commissioner. It also does not apply if you possess “a very specific expertise crucial to your company/institution”.
Can I obtain a work permit (IMTA) regardless of my position in the company?
As a foreign national, you cannot pursue a professional endeavor in the following sectors:
- Human Resources department
- Legal department
- Health, safety, and environment affairs
- Supply chain management
- Quality control and inspection
(ESDM Regulation no. 31, Year 2013, Article 4)
Generally speaking, if you work outside of the mentioned sectors, you are eligible to apply for a work permit (IMTA).
How long will my work permit (IMTA) last?
The answer to this question will depend on your type of industry.
If you are a foreign expert from a service, trading, or consulting company, you will be granted a 6-month (as opposed to the previous 1 year) work permit recommendation.
The same rule applies for foreign workers in sectors related to machinery installation and maintenance, whose education is at high school or vocational level.
Commissioners, directors, and foreign staff at the managerial level and Chief of Representative Offfice will still be eligible for a 12-month work permit.
Can you give me the general picture on the process of securing a work permit (IMTA), KITAS and my Civil Registration in Indonesia?
Before you obtain your work permit (IMTA), you would walk through the process of getting these documents:
|1. Foreign Manpower Employment Plan approval (RPTKA)||A document approving your company’s proposal to use foreign manpower — issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower|
|2. Pre-IMTA/Pre-working permit||This process replaces the TA-01 procedure for working visa. During this process, you will be notified about how long you can stay in Indonesia for your work.|
|3. Payment of the monthly development funds to the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower (DKP-TKA)||The amount your company should pay will be based on your length of stay (as you will be notified in the previous procedure). The charge for the DKP-TKA is at USD 100/month and needs to be relieved all in advance. E.g: USD 600 for a 6-month working period and USD 1,200 for a 12-month working period|
|4. Working permit (IMTA)||You can now legally work in Indonesia|
|5. Limited stay permit (VITAS)||Your IMTA will be the basis of the Indonesian Immigration to issue you the Limited stay permit/ VITAS. The validity of your VITAS will adjust to the maximum duration of stay granted for your position; and will be calculated from the day you enter Indonesia. VITAS approval is processed at the immigration in Indonesia and the VITAS itself will be issued abroad by an Indonesian embassy of your choice|
|6. Limited stay permit card (KITAS)||As soon as you enter Indonesia with a VITAS, it has to be converted to a KITAS, valid for as long as your VITAS is. During this process you will also have to go to the Immigration office to record your biometric data|
|7.MERP / Multiple Entry and Re-Entry Permit||With this document, you can exit and re-enter Indonesia with the same limited stay permit. It is valid as long as your KITAS is|
|8. Civil registration||Family card, temporary residential card, various documents required for living in Indonesia|
In Indosight, the entire process typically takes 6 weeks and is handled entirely by our consultants.
Extending your work permit (IMTA), limited stay permit card (KITAS), and Civil Registration documents
The process of extending your work permit, KITAS, and Civil Registration documents is almost similar to that of getting the new ones. For extension, however, you will not need need to exit Indonesia and obtain another limited stay permit (VITAS). This exemption is only applicable for the holders of a 12-month work permit (IMTA) and limited stay permit card (KITAS).
You cannot extend a 6-month IMTA and KITAS. If you are a holder of these documents, before their expiration you will need to do a re-newal process, and in advance of the renewal, you will need to exit Indonesia as a part of an Exit Permit Only procedure.
Due to the fast-changing nature of Indonesian government regulations, we suggest you to start preparing for your extension at least 2 months before the expiration date of your IMTA, KITAS and Civil Registration documents.
In October 2015, the Indonesian government issued an update to its Work Permit Regulation. What are the changes brought by the newer regulation?
To make it easier to track the changes, we will write down in this section the conditions laid out by the older Working Permit Regulation. Details that are obsolete are written in strikethrough — updates according to the newer regulation are then added below.
1. A more relaxed local-to-foreigner hiring ratio
In order for a company to hire a foreign worker, it needs to hire at least 10 Indonesian citizens. Commissioners and directors are excluded from this ratio.
The newer regulation amended this clause. As of current, only 1 Indonesian co-worker should be appointed for every foreign worker hired by the company. The co-worker position should of course be related to the foreigner’s title.
If your position is either a director, commissioner, anggota pembina yayasan, anggota pengurus yayasan, or anggota pengawas yayasan, your company does not have to appoint an Indonesian co-worker as your partner.
Same goes if you are a foreign artist, or a foreign worker assuming an urgent or temporary position in your company.
2. Non-resident commissioners and directors are no longer required to have a work permit
Despite not staying or residing in Indonesia, a commissioner or director of an Indonesian-based company will need to apply for an IMTA. This means they will also have to pay the annual US$1200 DPKK fee like expats in Indonesia
This clause is now removed. Non-resident commissioners and directors are no longer required to obtain an IMTA to conduct their business in Indonesia.
3. Companies hiring foreign experts are now required to pass an interview at the Ministry of Manpower
All companies hiring foreign experts are now required to pass an interview at the Ministry of Manpower to get the RPTKA issued. This should put an end to the common use of “agents” acting as “ghost employers”.
Be careful with “agents” claiming they can get you a work permit without actually employing you. They are either not aware of the new regulations or merely attempt to rip you off.
You are not required to undertake this interview/expose process if you are a Director or Commissioner at your company.
4. Added limitations for companies in service, trading, and consulting industries
If the companies in these sectors want to hire foreign nationals for managerial roles, Ministry of Manpower will look at their suitability for the job – such as qualifications and work experience.
Since there are no formally required qualifications set by the law, judgments will be made by the official handling your respective case.
Companies in these sectors are also only allowed to hire foreign nationals at advisory roles. Some examples include marketing advisor, quality control advisor, research and development advisor, market research advisor, etc. While these roles are allowed, it is not guaranteed that every application pertaining to these roles will succeed. The Ministry of Manpower should decide whether a foreign expert, rather than her local counterpart, must really assume the position.
You no longer need a temporary work permit to attend meetings and give trainings in Indonesia
Previous Work Permit Regulation (16/2015) stated that for the purpose of attending meetings, giving speeches, trainings, and one-time job assignments, a foreigner is required to have temporary work permit. This is no longer the case. As already stated above, you may now conduct these activities in Indonesia under a business visa. In the newer regulation, this article has been removed.
What will happen if I fail to secure my work permit (IMTA)?
The Indonesian government is serious about implementing the rules on hiring foreign workers. The punishment for a breach of the Working Permit Regulation can be costly and severe. Misusing your residence permit, for example, is a criminal act punishable by up to 5 years in prison.(Immigration Law, Article 122).
To avoid unfortunate circumstances, you should extend your temporary stay and work permits on time. Tardiness will result in these documents losing their validity — you will be asked to re-apply, this time following the new government regulations. Start your extension process at least 2 months before the end of your temporary stay permit card (KITAS) and work permit (IMTA)’s validity term.
Indosight handles dozens of work permits and visas every month. Use our services to ensure your work permit application is done correctly and always up to date.