To qualify for a spouse visa, or a permanent stay permit (KITAP) in Indonesia, you must be legally married to an Indonesian citizen. A marriage is only legal when it is officially recognised by the government anywhere in Indonesia where you were married. Domestic partnerships, in which a couple have not formalised their relationship but have been living together, are not recognised for a spouse visa. A foreigner who has been married to an Indonesian spouse for 10 years or more can keep their spouse visa indefinitely even after a divorce or death of their Indonesian spouse. Once you have got your Indonesian spouse visa, the next question is whether you are allowed to work or start a business in Indonesia?
Here we will dive into the details of foreigners working on a spouse visa in Indonesia.
Possibility of Doing Business on a Spouse Visa
Under the Law of Indonesia foreigners who are on a spouse visa are entitled to conduct businesses to make their ends meet and to look after their families.
However, here is the grey zone everyone is questioning — what are the businesses foreigners can undertake on a spouse visa?
This grey zone has existed for a long time and has yet to be clarified in the Indonesian Law. However, in November 2012, a governmental public meeting did mention that foreigners with a spouse visa are allowed to work as long as they do not employ any staff and work in an informal sector.
In other words, foreigners can only work independently without hiring any workers. Jobs such as an artist, a painter, a private tutor, or a freelancer should fit the category.
For a foreigner to help an Indonesian spouse in his or her business, the law is still vague. For most cases, the permission depends heavily on the consideration of the local officers.
When a Work Permit Is Required
All other businesses that require foreigners with a spouse visa to hire employees, needing capital from the investors, etc. oblige foreigners to start a foreign-owned company and apply for a work permit on its behalf.
However, there are several phases foreigners need to go through before obtaining the work permit as registering a business in Indonesia is a lengthy and bureaucratic process.
Moreover, the process of employing a foreigner changed drastically last year confusing both local officers and foreign nationals. Cekindo has been following the implementation of the regulation carefully; updated information is provided on request.
Termination of a Spouse Visa
Even though holding a spouse visa in Indonesia, foreigners should still keep their eye on their activities to prevent losing their status. These are the activities that may result in termination of the visa:
- The foreigner has left Indonesia for more than a year.
- The foreigner’s spouse divorces or his/her Indonesian spouse dies after less than 10 years of marriage
- The foreigner does not extend his or her permanent stay permit (KITAP) after 5 years.
- The foreigner has finally acquired the Indonesian nationality.
- The spouse visa is cancelled by the Government due to specific circumstances.
- The foreigner has passed away or has been deported (as in case of working without a work permit).
Related article: Mixed Marriage in Indonesia: The Importance of Prenuptial Agreement
Hefty Fine without a Work Permit
The right to start working on a spouse visa remains restricted due to the unclear law. Violating the rules by not having a work permit might cause you a maximum fine of IDR 500 million with possible imprisonment of up to 5 years, alternatively deportation.
Contact us for more information on doing business on a spouse visa in Indonesia to discuss your specific case. Our advisors in Jakarta, Semarang, and Bali will get back to you within two working days.