For expatriates, living in Indonesia can be difficult, not to mention the crazy traffic, earning a living can be complicated. How may you ask? Well, from finding a secure employment to navigating the bureaucratic nightmare of a visa process, every foreigner must ensure they are as informed and educated as they can be.
We’re here to help you with that! We hope that our six facts will equip you well and point you towards the right way of navigating the way for requirements each worker must legally reach and the basics of securing a legal permit to work in Indonesia.
So, without any further ado, here are 6 things you need to know:
Sorry, Experts Only
Foreigners who are interested in working in Indonesia should understand that in general, the government is trying to reduce its unemployment rate among locals. As a consequence, a policy is made to protect the local workforce by limiting foreign workers to the positions that cannot be handled by local workers. In other words, foreigners are more likely to be accepted to work in Indonesia if they have expertise in their field.
A Wanted List: Work
Searching for a job in Indonesia is not easy. Finding a suitable job opening is not always as easy as going onto JobStreet or JobsDB, for example. It is often the case that foreigners arrive in Jakarta because of an assignment from a company that employs them at home or through an agency. This being said, individuals can still obtain employment in Indonesia via internet forums and often by directly emailing companies of interest. It also helps to attend networking events (of which there are many in Jakarta these days).
Most foreigners working here are usually employed by foreign companies, teach English or work in the export sector. However, it’s worth noting that in recent years, Indonesia’s tech startup and e-commerce sectors has become increasingly vibrant with foreign founders and overseas talent. Because of the previously mentioned “expert” requirement, younger expats often work as English teachers, while older professionals are often employed as consultants, engineers, and developers in industries like mining and oil and gas.
In terms of visas, it is best to have the company that employed you facilitate the process. This is because it is a lengthy and an incredibly bureaucratic process. You must obtain an appropriate visa to work in Indonesia. Documents like visa-on-arrival and a business visa do not legally allow foreigners to work in the country, even if you are able to stay for up to two months.
Any company that hires an expatriate in Indonesia must submit an application with the government to accept foreigners. If the government approves the application, the expat can be issued a work permit.
The work permit (IMTA) is vital because if you do not have it, you are not working legally in Indonesia. The employer applies to the Manpower Department for the expat to receive a work permit. If the plan is approved, foreign employees can apply for a KITAS card (local ID) and work legally until there is a requirement for re-application.
But, wait, there’s more!
Even More Requirements
Indosight says the general requirements do not specify any age limitation. With this in mind, 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 five years of work experience.
Requirements for artists or 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 the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to be between the ages of 30 and 55.
This age restriction does not apply if you have the highest-level position in your firm, with the moniker ‘Director’, ‘Chief of the Representative Office’ or ‘Commissioner’, for example. It also does not apply if you possess “a very specific expertise crucial to your company/institution”.
Overall, working in Indonesia is a wonderful experience, but in order to become a proper employee, you must prepare diligently and with great care. Pay attention to your work contract, speak to human resources about such topics as work permits and KITAS, and mentally prepare yourself for a rather bureaucratic process.
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