Indonesian Work Permits from A to Z

If you have a plan to work and settle down in Indonesia, you will need a work permit. Learn about the process and requirements here.

If you’ve ever searched online for information about an Indonesian work permit, chances are you already know that you will need a work permit to work in Indonesia. However, the Immigration Law in Indonesia is prompt to change. So as a trusted Indonesia visa agent, our advice is to make sure the regulations are up-to-date from time to time.

This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the work permit in Indonesia, and help both companies and individuals, such as potential employees and freelancers, to understand the requirements and process.

Common Misunderstandings About Indonesian Work Permits

Work Permit vs. KITAS

A lot of people confuse the term KITAS/ITAS (Izin Tinggal Terbatas) with Indonesia work permits. KITAS/ITAS refers to the stay permit, whereas the work permit is known as RPTKA Approval (Pengesahan Rencana Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing or the Foreign Worker Utilization Plan)一a document detailing the specific task, job titles, and the length of the employment of a foreign worker.

In March 2021, the Indonesian Government issued The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) Regulation No. 8/2021 that revoked MOM Regulations No. 10/2018 concerning The Employment of Foreign Workers. The recent regulation stipulates that RPTKA approval now serves as the basis for the authority to grant a limited stay visa (VITAS). Once you have received a VITAS, the immigration in Indonesia will issue your limited stay permit (KITAS/ITAS).

Learn more about Limited Stay Permit (KITAS/ITAS) in Indonesia.

Work Permit vs. Business Visa

Many people do not know the difference between a work permit and a business visa in Indonesia. Whether you’re an aspiring architect, attending a business conference overseas, or a company sending staff abroad for a project, knowing which of the two visas is required can be very tricky.

Two common types of visa for doing business in Indonesia are the business visa and the work permit, and the following are the fundamental differences between the two:

  • A business visa is required for business tasks in Indonesia. This includes attending a seminar or a conference, unpaid training, etc. This type of visa does not allow you to work or earn money in Indonesia.
  • A work permit allows you to work legally in Indonesia for a certain period of time.
    This is a general way to differentiate a business visa and a work permit in Indonesia.

If you need more information, please refer to Cekindo’s business visa and work permit services.

Work Permit in Indonesia: Requirements You Should Know

For Employers in Indonesia

According to Article 3 of MOM Regulation No. 8/2021, employers who are eligible to hire foreign workers include:

  • Government agencies, international bodies, and foreign state representatives.
  • Representatives for foreign trade, news agencies, and representative offices.
  • Foreign private companies
  • Foreign legal entities, such as limited liability companies, foundations, or other business entities that are legally registered under Indonesian law.
  • Social, religious, educational, and cultural institutions.
  • Entertainment management companies
  • Or any other business entities that are permitted by law to hire foreign workers

Under MOM Reg. 8/2021, a self proprietorship company, known as a CV, is not allowed to employ foreign workers.

To obtain the RPTKA Approval, the eligible employers must submit a set of documents that contain the detailed information of the employer’s identity, reasons for hiring foreign workers, the detail of the position that foreign workers will undertake within the organization structure, the number of foreign workers being employed and their contract length, and so on.

Once submitted, MOM will review all the documents and conduct a feasibility study and issue the RPTKA Approval.

For Foreign Workers

The MOM Regulations No.8 2021 also laid out the general requirements for foreign workers to obtain work permits in Indonesia. According to the regulation, the requirements are as follows:

  • You meet the educational background requirement and are qualified for the position.
  • You have competency certificates or a minimum of five years’ work experience related to the position.
  • You are willing to transfer the knowledge and skills of expertise to the local counterpart.

Note that there are certain job positions that are prohibited for foreign workers. According to the Minister of Manpower Decree No. 349/2019, foreigners are not eligible to work and obtain a work permit for the following positions:

  • Personnel Director
  • Industrial Relation Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Personnel Development Supervisor
  • Personnel Recruitment Supervisor
  • Personnel Placement Supervisor
  • Employee Career Development Supervisor
  • Personnel Declare Administrator
  • Personnel and Career Specialist
  • Personnel Specialist
  • Job Advisor
  • Job Advisor and Counselor
  • Employee Mediator
  • Job Training Administrator
  • Job Interviewer
  • Job Analyst, and;
  • Occupational Safety Specialist

Process of Securing a Work Permit in Indonesia

The process of securing a work permit in Indonesia can be tedious and patience is the key. We will walk you through the general process as written below:

  • Your sponsor company receives approval of the RPTKA for its proposal from the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower.
  • Your sponsor company needs to go through the Pre-RPTKA Approval/Pre-work Permit process, and be notified of the duration that you can stay and work in Indonesia
  • DKP-TKA (Development Funds in Exchange of Hiring a Foreign Worker) payment of USD100/month must be paid in advance.
  • With the approval of RPTKA, you can now work legally in Indonesia
  • With your work permit, the immigration office in Indonesia will issue your VITAS.
  • Your VITAS will automatically convert into KITAS/ITAS upon arriving in Indonesia.

The Exemption

The RPTKA Approval is no longer required for foreign directors and commissioners with certain ownership of shares in the company.

The RPTKA Approval is also exempted for foreigners who are engaged in diplomatic and consular activities, hired by a local employer for emergency activities, as well as vocational activities for Indonesian tech-based startups.

However, it is also worth noting that this exemption for startups only lasts for three months, after which the company must apply for the RPTKA Approval.

The Validity of an Indonesian Work Permit

The validity of work permits in Indonesia ranges from one month to twelve months. The validation date depends on the type of industry you are working in. In addition, it also depends on the type of sponsor company’s RPTKA. Different work permits with their respective validity are as follows:

Urgent or Emergency Work Permit

This permit is valid for 1 month. Urgent jobs and jobs that need immediate actions usually use this kind of permit, as it is designed to avoid any potential detrimental consequences for the sponsoring company or society as a whole.

Temporary Work Permit

With a validity of 2 to 6 months, a temporary work permit is applicable for foreigners in industries such as trading, services, and consulting. It also applies to foreign workers or laborers in sectors such as maintenance and installation of machinery.

Long Term Work Permit

Also known as a normal work permit, it is valid for 7 to 12 months for expats at higher management levels such as managers, directors, and commissioners.

Indonesian Work Permit: the Obligation of Employers

According to Article 44 of MOM Regulation No.8/2021, foreign workers’ employers must submit an annual report to the government that contains the detailed information about foreign workers’ utilization, education and job training for foreign workers’ assistants as well as transfer of technology and skill to the local counterpart.

It should also be noted that the Ministry of Manpower Regulation No. 8/2021 requires employers to facilitate foreign workers to learn the Indonesian Language.

Foreign workers’ employers should pay attention to this, as the regulation stipulates the specific format for this report. Assistance from an Indonesia visa agent and legal expert such as Cekindo can simplify this process and help you avoid unnecessary complications in the future.

Sanctions for Not Having a Work Permit in Indonesia

With the confusion between a work permit and a work visa, some foreigners or investors might make the wrong call. Specifically for directors or board members of a company in Indonesia, you must get a work permit to stay for a significant amount of time.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally — not securing your work permit means you are breaking the immigration law in Indonesia.

The employers who fail to comply with work permit Indonesia policy are looking at IDR 36 billion fine.
Foreign workers who stay and work in Indonesia without a work permit are subject to IDR 500 billion fine and may also face 5 years of imprisonment, according to the Indonesian immigration law.

To avoid these situations, always consult with an Indonesian visa agent for details and the latest version of the immigration law.

Cekindo As Your Trusted Visa Agent in Indonesia

The process of getting a work permit in Indonesia can be complicated by unforeseen issues. Cekindo’s team of global specialists can easily review any situation and help make the whole process easier. Contact us today.

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For both single and multiple entry business and working visa as well, the sponsor has to be a company. The sponsor company is the legal entity that either invites you to a business meeting or the business for which you will be working for. Regarding social-cultural and retirement visa as well as KITAS & KITAP stay permits, the sponsor must either an Indonesian legal entity or citizen. In case you don’t have a visa sponsor, Cekindo provides sponsorship via HR Outsourcing and also manage payroll for your foreigner employee.

It depends on the type of KITAS/ITAS. A Retirement KITAS/ITAS, for example, is valid for one year, whereas a Work KITAS/ITAS Is valid for six months to one year. There is an exception for an Investor KITAS/ITAS that is valid for two years.

The price varies, depending on the type of ITAS that you wish to apply.

Yes. You need to register at the immigration website and proceed with your application online.

A KITAS/ITAS holder must apply for an EPO when switching between jobs, resigning from a current job, and wanting to leave Indonesia, or changing ITAS type.

The requirements may be different between one KITAP type and another. A Spouse ITAS holder can apply for a KITAP after a 2-year marriage. A Work ITAS holder can apply for a KITAP after holding the KITAS/ITAS four times consecutively.

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Pandu Biasramadhan

Pandu is the Consulting Manager at Cekindo. He has extensive experience in working with government agencies. Notably, he has provided market-entry solutions for enterprises in Indonesia and managed regional partnership channels in Southeast Asia. At Cekindo, Pandu aspires to lead the consulting team to provide top-quality market-entry services and maintain a portfolio of global clientele. His specialty is market-entry advisory and business process outsourcing.