Ra Residence | Useful Info: New Work Permit Regulations in Indonesia

Ra Residence Simatupang Jakarta is glad to share useful tips and information regarding regulation and other related issues for expatriates who are living in Jakarta.

Indosight.com | 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.

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