The Guide to Employment Visas for Foreign Workers in Indonesia

Posted by Written by Ayman Falak Medina Reading Time: 8 minutes

Indonesia has introduced new reforms on foreign employment visas through the introduction of the Omnibus Law, also known as Law No. 11 of 2020 on Job Creation. 

The recent changes include the introduction of a foreign worker utilization plan — a document that details the specific work, position, and length of employment the foreign employee will undertake in Indonesia.

Further, employers must submit an annual report to the Ministry of Manpower that covers the scope of the foreign worker’s employment, and the types of technology or knowledge transfer being implemented.

The main sources of employment and labor laws in Indonesia are:

  • Labor Law of 2003 on Manpower as recently amended by Law No. 11 of 2020 on Job Creation;
  • Law No. 21 of 2000 on Labor Union; and
  • Law No. 2 of 2004 on Industrial Relations Dispute Settlement.

Business visas

This is a single-entry visa valid for 60 days upon arrival and can be extended up to four times. This type of visa is intended for businesspeople who are engaging in meetings in the country, attending conferences, or undertaking market research.

This visa must be sponsored by a legal entity in Indonesia and the holders are not allowed to gain employment while in the country.

Multiple entry business visas

Multiple entry business visas allow foreign visitors to make repeated trips to Indonesia for one year. The visa, however, has a 60-day limit upon arrival, meaning that visitors will have to leave the country before it expires or before entering Indonesia again.

The requirements for obtaining this visa type are the same as that of the business visa. The fee is US$100.

Application requirements

The application requirements for the business visa are as follows:

  • A passport valid for at least six months;
  • A letter of invitation from the Indonesian-based sponsor mentioning the purpose of the applicant’s visit, and length of stay. The Indonesian sponsor will also need to do an online application to the immigration office in Jakarta on behalf of the applicant;
  • The process usually takes five working days by which the immigration office will issue a visa approval letter. This will then be sent to the applicant’s nearest Indonesian Embassy, which will issue the visa.
  • A business cover letter from the applicant’s own company;
  • One passport-sized photograph (white background);
  • A copy of the applicant’s round-trip, electronic airline ticket;
  • Pay the US$50 fee; and
  • A bank statement proving the applicant has at least US$2,000.

Working visas

A work visa (IMTA) can only be applied for by an Indonesian company that will hire foreign workers. The company must prove to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) that the foreign applicant is required to fulfill certain positions.

Foreign employees in Indonesia are not allowed to obtain work in the following sectors: 

  • Human resource management;
  • Industrial relation manager;
  • Personnel development manager;
  • Employee career development supervisor;
  • Job advisor;
  • Employee mediator;
  • Personnel recruitment supervisor;
  • Job interviewer;
  • Job training administrator;
  • Job analyst; and
  • Occupational safety specialist.  

Foreign worker utilization plan

On March 31, 2021, Indonesia’s Ministry of Manpower issued Regulation No. 8 of 2021 (MOM Reg 8/2021) on the Employment of Foreign Workers. MOM Reg 8/2021 is an implementing regulation to GR 34/2021 and provides in detail the requirements for businesses to fulfill in order to hire foreign workers.

For a local company to employ a foreign worker, they must prepare a Foreign Worker Utilization Plan (Rencana Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing (RPTKA)) — a document that details the specific work, position, and length of employment the foreign employee will undertake in Indonesia. The RPTKA now also serves as the basis for the MOM to grant visas and stay permits.

MOM Reg 8/2021 it is the duty of the sponsor company to seek approval from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for approval of a Foreign Worker Utilization Plan (Rencana Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing (RPTKA)).

The applicant’s sponsor must then pay US$100 in advance as part of the Development Fund for Expatriate Workers Law (DKPTKA) to the MOM. This amount is to be paid monthly to the MOM. 

If the RPTKA is approved, the foreign worker can legally work in Indonesia. After this, the immigration office can issue a limited-stay visa (VITAS). Upon arriving in Indonesia, the applicant must convert their VITAS into a limited stay permit (KITAS). 

Types of RPTKA

There are four types of RPTKA categorized under MOM 8/2021.


What is the process of hiring foreign workers in Indonesia?

It is the responsibility of the local company to apply for the RPTKA, which can be done through the online portal, under the Ministry of Manpower. The application is addressed to the Director of Foreign Manpower Utilization Management (Direktur Pengendalian Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing). However, if the application is for less than 50 foreign workers – then the application is addressed to the Director-General of Manpower Placement Guidance and Expansion of Work Opportunity (Direktur Jenderal Pembinaan Penempatan Tenaga Kerja dan Perluasan Kesempatan Kerja).

Who can apply?

According to MOM 8/2021, employers that can employ foreign workers include:

  • Government institutions, international bodies, and foreign state representatives;
  • Foreign trade representatives, foreign news agencies conducting activities in Indonesia, and foreign representative offices;
  • Foreign private companies conducting business in Indonesia;
  • Legal entities such as private limited companies established in Indonesia;
  • Social, religious, or cultural institutions;
  • Entertainment management entities; and
  • Other business entities are allowed to employ foreign workers.

RPTKA assessment

Once submitted, the MOM will conduct a feasibility study to see if the employer and prospective employee meet all the requirements. Employers are required to submit the following information:

  • Identity of the employer;
  • Reasons for utilizing a foreign worker;
  • The position of the foreign worker within the company’s organization structure;
  • Number of foreign workers being employed;
  • Contract length of the foreign employee;
  • Working location of the foreign employee;
  • Proof of mandatory employment reporting by the employer; and
  • Statement letter affirming the following:
    • The designation of the Indonesian employee(s) assigned as a co-worker to the foreign employee;
    • The Indonesian employee(s) will receive training or education from the foreign employee in accordance with the position and qualifications of the foreign employee; and
    • Ensure the foreign worker returns to their home country once their work contract expires.
  • Future plans to absorb Indonesian workers.

The results of this assessment will be issued in no more than two working days.

Personal information submission

The employer can submit the personal information and documents of the foreign worker after the RPTKA assessment or during the submission of the RPTKA documents. The personal information will be verified by the MOM within two working days.

RPTKA approval and payment

If the documents and information declared to the MOM are correct and complete, the MOM will issue a payment notification letter for the amount of US$100 to the Foreign Workers Compensation Fund (Dana Kompensasi Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing or DKP-TKA). This amount is to be paid to the MOM every month.

Once the employer has made the payment, the MOM will issue the RPTKA approval, and the data will be sent to the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, which will process the visa and stay permits.

Payment of the DKP-TKA is waived for foreign state representatives, international bodies, religious institutions, social institutions, and certain positions in the education sector.

Annual reporting obligations

Employers must submit an annual report to the MOM that covers the scope of the foreign worker’s employment, the education or training facilitated to Indonesian co-workers, and the types of technology transfer implemented.

RPTKA exemptions

There are RPTKA exemptions for foreign workers that are members of the board of directors, members of the board of commissioners, diplomatic or consular staff, or are hired by the local employer in connection to emergency activities, vocational activities, or in connection to production activities of an Indonesian-based tech startup.

Specifically, for tech-based startups and vocational training activities, the RPTKA exemption lasts for no more than three months, after which the company must apply for RPTKA approval. This application must be submitted at least two weeks before the expiration of the period of employment of the foreign worker, as stated in the foreign worker employment statement letter, which is issued in place of an RPTKA approval.

The MOM will issue the IMTA, and the immigration office will issue a limited-stay visa (VITAS). Upon arriving in Indonesia, the applicant must convert their VITAS into a limited stay permit Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas (KITAS).

Additional requirements to obtain a VITAS

Once a foreigner has received sponsorship to work in Indonesia, they can apply for a limited stay visa (Visa Tinggal Terbatas or ‘VITAS’). After the VITAS is secured, their immigration status changes to a limited stay permit (ITAS), which requires an official stamp from an immigration office.

After the VITAS is secured, their immigration status changes to an ITAS, which requires an official stamp from an immigration office.

Once the ITAS is secured, the foreign worker can receive a KITAS, which will permit them to work in Indonesia for up to 12 months. This can then be extended when the expiry date approaches.

The additional requirements to obtain a VITAS are:

  • A letter detailing the applicant is of good standing from the embassy or consulate of the foreigner’s country of origin; and

A health letter stating that the applicant is free from any contagious diseases.

Changes in the length of limited stay permits

Before the changes were implemented in regulation GR 48/2021 (issued in March 2021), the limited stay permit (ITAS) was valid for a maximum of two years with the possibility to extend twice for two years each time. After six years, the foreigner must apply for a new ITAS.

Under GR 48/2021, the ITAS is now valid for five years and can be extended once for another five-year, meaning the foreigner can stay in total for 10 years. Any ITAS for work purposes that is valid for no more than 90 days can be extended up to a maximum of 180 days.

Further, expatriates who have obtained their ITAS at a designated port of entry such as airports and ports will not be required to apply for the ITAS at their local immigration office in Indonesia, as was previously stipulated. This should ease the burden on expatriates and provide added certainty.

Permanent stay visas

The permanent stay visa Kartu Izin Tinggal Tetap (KITAP) allows expatriates to permanently stay in Indonesia. To qualify for this visa, expatriate workers would need to have held a Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas (KITAS) for four consecutive years, work in the same company, and had the same position. As with other visas, applicants will need a local sponsor. In addition to their employer, this could also be their spouse (who must be Indonesian).

Conversion of stay permits

Foreigners can now convert their visit stay permit to an ITAS, or an ITAS to a permanent stay permit (KITAP), or permanent stay visa/permanent residence. The KITAP is valid for five years and is extended automatically if the status of the expat does not change.

Obtaining a KITAP means the foreigner is no longer required to make the annual trip to the immigration office, as in the case of KITAS/ITAS holders, and no more costly visa extensions.

Introduction of the second home category

The government has now allowed foreigners who treat Indonesia as a ‘second home category’ to be eligible to receive a VITAS. The applicant must show evidence that they have settled in Indonesia. Further requirements will be issued in upcoming government regulations.

Positions open for employment for expatriate workers

On August 27, 2019, Indonesia’s Ministry of Labor issued Regulation No. 228 of 2019 (“Regulation 228, 2019”) to define the types of job positions foreign employees can hold in the country. The new regulation widens the number of positions open to expatriate workers, consolidates the list of positions into one, and simplifies the approval process for foreigners and their employers.

Regulation 228 lists more than 2,000 job titles across 18 sectors that can now be filled by expatriates. The job titles are taken directly from the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO), issued by the International Labor Organization (ILO). The job positions and the requirements in Regulation 228, 2019 will be re-evaluated by the government in two years.

This regulation was issued as an implementing regulation for the Ministry of Labor Regulation No. 10 of 2018 (Regulation 10, 2018), intended to attract highly skilled foreign employees to Indonesia. Regulation 10 was also designed to provide greater convenience for local employers – previous regulations regarding foreign workers were scattered across individual sectors.


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