Work Employment Visa in Indonesia: Explained

Ready to blend your career goals with tropical island life? You’re in the right place. Welcome to, where we break down the process of securing a work and employment visa in Indonesia. Let’s dive in!


Employment In Indonesia

Indonesia’s economy is quite mixed, and the service sector is one of the biggest; many expats find jobs as English teachers or in tourism.

Business etiquette is different from Western countries, and you should be aware of it.

Indonesia’s taxation system is complicated, and it is advisable to contact your local chamber of commerce for more information regarding tax treaties.

Working in Indonesia does not evoke images of tall skyscrapers filled with offices and busy people dressed in business attire. Instead, an image of white sandy beaches, lush green rolling hills, rice paddies, and artistic temples may come to mind.

However, finding a job in Indonesia might be challenging but not impossible.

For its population size of over 259 million, there is only a 6.6% rate of unemployment, which speaks for itself.

Despite the rather hard-hitting Asian financial crisis of 1997, Indonesia’s economy recovered relatively quickly and is still showing significant economic growth. This is a welcoming indicator for those planning on or already working in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s Economy

The Indonesian economy relies heavily on domestic consumption, and this sphere has seen increasing investment by local and foreign investors.

However, generally speaking, the economy is very mixed, with the private sector and the government playing a significant role. The Indonesian government has implemented a long-term development plan for the future to stabilize economic growth.

Its primary goals are to reduce poverty, promote the quality of human resources, improve science and technology, and strengthen economic competitiveness.

With a gross domestic product of nearly 1.3 trillion USD, Indonesia is a member of the G-20 major economies. Jakarta is Indonesia’s most significant export center due to its many ports and proximity to Asia and Australia.

In fact, the Port of Jakarta is Indonesia’s largest seaport and one of the largest ports in the Java Sea basin.

Indonesia And The Growing Service Sector

Indonesia’s primary industries are petroleum and gas, textiles and apparel, footwear, mining, cement, chemical fertilizers, plywood, rubber, food, and tourism.

Initially, with a much larger labor force employed in the agricultural sector, in recent years, Indonesia has moved towards the services sector (now around 45% of the Indonesian workforce).

However, the agricultural sector remains strong, with almost 41% of those working in Indonesia employed in agribusiness or subsistence farming. The remainder of the jobs are in the industrial sector.

Job Opportunities In Indonesia

Foreign companies employ most expats in Indonesia, teach English, or work in the export sector.

As getting a working visa is not the easiest step in the moving process, foreign companies are an expat’s best bet for being able to work in Indonesia.

If you are considering working in Indonesia and need help knowing where to begin your search, Jakarta is not the wrong place to start.

The capital is Indonesia’s financial hub and home to many vital industries. Job opportunities abound in the electronics, automotive, chemical, biomedical, and mechanical engineering sectors.

Younger expats, in particular, tend to find jobs working in Indonesia as English teachers. There are quite a few jobs for expatriates who are certified either in English as a Second Language (ESL) or in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL).

Some reputable job sites for Indonesia, such as the recruitment agencies Jobs DB, Job Street, or Workster, are explicitly geared towards expats. They can be useful in finding work before you go to Indonesia.

Alternatively, you can also search for jobs on Facebook groups or using Upwork and Fiverr.

What Is A Work Permit In Indonesia?

A work permit is a legal document that officially authorizes you to seek work, get employed, and earn an income in a foreign country legally.

Most countries require permanent or temporary work permits to allow you to work within their borders, and you must go through a multi-step application process to get it.

Foreigners who come to Indonesia to work must obtain a work permit to work legally.

It is also mandatory for these individuals to apply for a limited stay permit (VITAS) and the Electronic limited stay permit (ITAS) from the Indonesian Immigration before commencing work.

Alternatively, some travelers come to Indonesia for business activities and have yet to earn an income. This group would then apply for a Business Visa instead of a Work Permit.

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. 

What Are The Requirements To Obtain A Work Permit In Indonesia?

If you’re an employer looking to hire foreigners in Indonesia, Rencana Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing (RPTKA) is the work permit that you will need to apply for your foreign hires.

In order to obtain a work permit, there are requirements for the employer as well as for the foreign hire.

For The Employer:

According to Article 3 of MOM Regulation No. 8/2021, there is a list of eligible business entities that are permitted by the law to employ foreign workers.

These include and are not limited to:

  • Government agencies, international bodies
  • Social, Religious, Educational, and Cultural Institutions
  • Entertainment management companies
  • Foreign Private Companies

Eligible employers are required to submit include:

  1. Detailed information on the employer’s identity
  2. Reasons for employing foreign workers
  3. Details of the position the foreign worker will undertake in the organization structure
  4. Contact details of the foreign worker employed

For The Foreign Hire:

  • Educational Background and Qualification are met for the position
  • Competency certificates or a minimum of 5 years of work experience related to the position applied for
  • Willing to transfer the knowledge and skills of expertise to the local counterpart

Applying for a work permit in Indonesia does not have any age requirement in most industries and positions.

However, as stated by the Indonesian Ministry of Energy, workers in the gas and oil industry are required to be of age between 30 and 55 to work in Indonesia.

This requirement does not extend to those of higher positions such as President, Director, General Manager, or Commissioner.

How To Apply For An Indonesian Work Visa?

Finding a sponsor (employer) in Indonesia is the first step to getting a work visa. Work visa is only with a sponsor because most of the process must be done in Indonesia.

The sponsor has to receive authorization to hire an applicant. They also have to obtain a work permit and limited stay visa/residence permit for their employees/applicants.

There are several steps in order to obtain an Indonesia work visa (assuming that an applicant has already found a job):

Expatriate Placement Plan

The employer has to seek approval from the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower. Then, typically, the employer has to explain why they are hiring a foreigner instead of an Indonesian citizen.

This approval is called RPTKA (Rencana Penempatan Tenaga Kerja Asing, which translates to “Expatriate Placement Plan”).

There are RPTKA exemptions for foreign workers that are members of the board of directors, members of the board of commissioners, and diplomatic or consular staff.

In addition, they are hired by the local employer in connection to emergency activities, vocational activities, or 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 foreign worker’s employment period, 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, applicants must convert their VITAS into a limited stay permit Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas (KITAS).

Applying For A Work Permit

The employer has to submit a request for an Indonesian work permit to the Ministry of Manpower. The employees must send their documents for the application in advance. These documents include work and education certificates, passport copies, etc.

This work permit is called IMTA (Izin Mempekerjakan Tenaga Kerja Asing, which translates to “Permission to Employ Foreign Workers”.)

Receiving Vitas

The employer has to get a Temporary Indonesia Work Visa at the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM).

This temporary work visa is called VITAS (Visa Izin Tinggal Terbatas, which translates to ” Limited Stay Visa “).

Applying For A Work Visa

The employee must submit an Indonesian work visa (VITAS) application to an Indonesian Embassy. In addition, copies of the RPTKA and IMTA must also be submitted.

When the employee lands in Indonesia with an Indonesia work visa, the Immigration Department will issue the employee’s ITAS. The ITAS (Temporary Stay Permit) permit gives clearance to the employee to live and work in Indonesia for up to a year.

Applying For Kitas And Foreign Workers Work Permits

After the Immigration Department has issued the VITAS, the employee has to make an appointment at an Immigration Office and submit an application for Indonesia KITAS.

The employee must go to a police station and get the police department’s STM letter (Police Report Letter).

What Procedure And Documents Are Required To Obtain A Working Permit?

Before you can apply for an Indonesian Work Permit, there are other types of visas and permits a foreign hire and employer must obtain. These include:

  • Expatriate Utilisation Plan (Rencana Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing – RPTKA)

The first document to submit is RPTKA. The company that intends to employ a foreign worker must obtain a formal government approval by submitting RPTKA to the Ministry of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia.

Documents needed for the RPTKA application:

  1. The RPTKA registration form
  1. A letter from your employer explaining why they are recruiting you and what role you will play in their organization.
  1. Documents about the company, including the incorporation certificate, business license, and tax identification number
  1. The company’s organizational structure
  1. Annual statistics from the corporation on the number of local and overseas personnel (Wajib Lapor)
  1. If the firm you work for deals with oil and gas, mining, or transportation, a recommendation letter from another institution/organization is required.
  • Working Permit (Izin Mempekerjakan Tenaga Asing – IMTA)

After the approval of RPTKA, the company may apply for IMTA, including the personal data information and documents of the candidate, including gender, name, passport number and validity, education, and work experience, to the Ministry of Manpower.

Documents required for IMTA application:

  1. The RPTKA
  1. A photocopy of your passport
  1. Evidence of education and experience in your field/occupation, as well as the job you will hold
  1. A work experience certificate of at least five years related to the job
  1. A letter from you indicating that you accept to work for the Indonesian firm (for example, if you are being moved from one of the company’s branches to the Indonesian branch).
  1. Evidence of an insurance policy provided by an Indonesian insurer
  1. If you want to work in Indonesia for more than six months, you must get a National Social Security Policy (NPWP) and a Tax Identification Number (NPWP).
  1. Payment of the Skill and Development Fund Fee, which is $1200 (IDR 18,183,480)/year (DPKK).
  1. Two color passport photos of yourself
  • Limited Stay Visa (Visa Izin Tertinggi Terbatas – VITAS)

With the approval of RPTKA and IMTA, the employer must apply for VITAS to BKPM. Following that, BKPM will issue a letter of recommendation to the Department of Immigration – notifying the issuance of VITAS to the foreign employee.

  • Temporary/Limited Stay Permit (Izin Tinggal Terbatas – ITAS)

Upon arrival in Indonesia, the VITAS will be converted to ITAS. ITAS is the immigration status itself. The Indonesian Immigration Office will annually stamp the foreign workers’ passports to show that they have temporary stay residence status.

  • Temporary Stay Permit Card (Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas – KITAS)

After the ITAS is approved, KITAS will automatically be issued to the foreign worker by the Indonesian Immigration. KITAS is simply an identification card that indicates that the foreign worker has an ITAS immigration status.

How Long Is The Indonesia Work Visa Valid?

When you finally receive your completed Indonesia work visa, it will be valid for a limited period of time, usually between 3 months to one year.

What you are actually receiving is the KITAS or “Temporary Stay Permit Card” for employment purposes.

Depending on the type of work you will do, your contract, and the decision of the Immigration Officers, the KITAS is issued for a period of up to one year and can be renewed before it expires.

Once you have lived in Indonesia for up to three years with a KITAS, then you can apply for a KITAP or “Permanent Stay Permit”. The KITAP is valid for five years at a time and can be renewed.

Can You Extend An Indonesia Work Visa?

Yes, you can. You will initially receive an Indonesia work visa (KITAS) for a period between 3 months to one year.

You can extend this period before it expires. Once you have lived in Indonesia for three consecutive years, you are eligible to apply for a permanent residence permit (KITAP), which is valid for five years and renewable.

Can Family Members Come Along With An Indonesian Work Visa?

Yes, the employer has to apply for your family’s visa at the Immigration Department in Indonesia at the same time. Employees and their dependent family members will receive KITAS together in this method.

However, the employee’s spouse can only work in Indonesia if they find an employer (sponsor) and get a separate work permit.

If you want to bring family members, you will need the following:

  • Passports that are scanned in color.
  • Marriage certificate for spouses and children’s birth certificate in English or Bahasa Indonesia
  • Each family member should have two passport-sized pictures.

What Happens If You Break A Law As A Work Permit Holder?

If the rules and regulations of the Ministry of Manpower and other concerned authorities are violated, the work permit of any individual can be removed.

Due to the fact that the work permit allows a foreign individual to live and work in Indonesia, a foreigner needs to avoid this adverse circumstance. 


There you have it, globetrotter! You’re now a step closer to securing your career dreams under the Indonesian sun. It’s a journey, but with every step, you’re closer to your dream.

Journey well!

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