Are you one of the many expats who would like to look for work in Indonesia? Then, this article is for you! We get many inquiries on this site and postings on the Expat Forum from expatriates who want to relocate to Indonesia, or are already here, perhaps as a “trailing spouse”, and are looking for work.
Although researching the job possibilities may start prior to arriving in Indonesia it is preferable that you are physically in country before you start to send out CVs. Being able to respond immediately to leads and requests for interviews, as well as to network, is invaluable in a job search. Frankly speaking, it will be very hard for you to locate employment in Indonesia, if you are not physically there.
Government policies towards hiring expats
Be informed that employment in Indonesia is not truly open to expatriates. Early 2016 statistics show that nearly 5.5% of the population is unemployed and a significant percentage of those are professionals. Indonesian government policy is very clear that it does not want a company in Indonesia, domestic or foreign, to hire an expatriate for a job that can be done by an Indonesian. There are too many unemployed Indonesians looking for work!
This policy pretty much precludes the young, adventuring expat with little work experience from getting a job in Indonesia, except as an English teacher or volunteer with an international organization.
Indonesia is one of the few countries in the word that has a Negative Investment List. This is a list issued by the government that prohibits or restricts foreign investment in particular sectors. Obviously if investment is restricted, employment in those sectors is also affected.
justify why this position needs to be filled by an expat,
show that the expat has the proper educational background
satisfy the questions of the department of manpower at the interview
And there must be an open slot in the company's submitted/approved manpower plan
If these requirements (and others) are satisifed, then the expatriate can be issued a work permit. After the work permit is approved, the company can apply for a semi-resident visa for the new employee - Work Permit First - Visa Second! More information on documents needed by expatriates can be found at Visas and Documentation.
If you do not have a work permit, you are not working legally! Be sure that your employer has gotten the full documentation for you. Some employment in the informal section is allowed if the foreigner is married to an Indonesia, but the regulations aren't 100% clear on this exception and are open to interpretation.
In addition to the applications and bureaucratic hassles of hiring foreigners, the company must pay a monthly tax of $100 for each foreigner they hire. These funds are paid to the Manpower Ministry - who uses the funds for training programs to increase the skills of Indonesians. Just this tax alone results in a $1,200 cost/year/foreign employee to the hiring company.