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Five new government regulations many expats aren’t happy about


The new president of Indonesia has certainly been busy this year and some of new regulations and enforcement of old ones, is making expats living in Bali and across the country a little uncomfortable. The government certainly seems like it is making Indonesia a less favorable place for foreigners wanting to work and start a business.

Carrying out death penalty

While there might be mixed support for the death penalty being applied to drug traffickers, both in Indonesia and abroad, no one can be happy with the way the executions are currently being carried out and how the image of Indonesia is being displayed to the world. While a great deal of attention if being given to two Australians on death row, there are nine other people currently facing execution, four Indonesians and five foreigners. Some people claim Indonesia is hypocritical for fighting for its own citizens abroad who are facing the death penalty. Last year the government paid “blood money” to have a migrant worker saved from execution. There are ongoing campaigns to boycott travel to Indonesia, Bali in particular, which could have an impact on the local economy.

Work permit changes

As previously mentioned in an earlier article, the government is making it more difficult for foreigners to obtain work permits and for some positions, they are being given for 6 months instead of 12.

Property law enforcement

The government announced this week that they would be cracking down on “foreign owned” properties in Indonesia, especially in Bali and Lombok. As most people are already aware foreigners cannot own freehold property in Indonesia. Many do however by working with an Indonesia and “borrowing” their name to buy the property. Of course how the checks are to be carried out is still not known. Property owned by Indonesians married to foreigners, who do not hold a pre-nup agreement, could also come under the spotlight.

Sale of alcohol banned from mini marts

From April this year, mini marts and convenience stores will no longer be able to sell alcoholic drinks. Hotels, restaurants and large supermarkets will still be allowed. While this probably has a greater effect on tourists than expats, it is certainly a worrying sign for people who like a drink. There have been calls in the past for a complete ban on alcohol in Indonesia.

Internet censorship

This change actually started under the previous president. Any methods used by governments to control the government rarely work and any blocks are easy to get around. It is also possible for legitimate sites to get blocked. The online forum site Reddit is blocked by Telkom Speedy.

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10 Responses to Five new government regulations many expats aren’t happy about

  1. John March 11, 2015 at 4:16 am #

    “Property owned by Indonesians married to foreigners, who do not hold a pre-nup agreement, could also come under the spotlight.” Can you please explain? Confusing statement, why does the Indonesia spouse need a pre-nup if logically the foreigner can not own property?

    • Steve March 11, 2015 at 6:57 am #

      I agree it is confusing. Can anyone clarify?

      • Steve March 11, 2015 at 6:59 am #

        Should we be all getting prenups now if we are foreigners married to indonesians?

        • Michael Henry March 11, 2015 at 7:14 am #

          If you want to buy land in Indonesia, then yes you should get a pre-nup made before you get married.

          • John March 11, 2015 at 7:35 am #

            If the land is in Indonesia spouse name & the spouse is a foreigner (no-prenup) then what is the concern of the Indonesian government? Land asset belongs to the Indonesian spouse, is there some new rule coming out that an Indonesian spouse can’t own land if married to a foreigner? Sorry Mike, just still unclear. Pre-nup from foreign spouse perspective is worthless, since foreigners can not own land.

          • Michael Henry March 11, 2015 at 8:51 am #

            The concern for the government is that if your spouse passes away before you, under the law you will be the owner of the property, which is what they want avoid happening. You have one year to sell the property or change the owner say to a family member, but it seems like they want to cover this by requiring couples to get a pre-nup stating the foreigner has no ownership rights over the property. Sorry it is a little complicated, if you have any concerns I would suggest talking to a lawyer or notary who can explain things better.

          • Steve March 22, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

            Thanks for your reply Henry. what do you advise for those foreigners already married to indonesians that have property but no prenup? Is there a way to still get the equivalent of a prenup? What would it be called?

        • bundy May 6, 2015 at 10:45 am #

          u can’t get pre nup if yer married.and the other question y an indonesian can’t have property in a mixed marriage without a prenup..cause a forienger can’t own property..under the marriage law 74..says u r joined.50/50/.so that makes the Indonesian illegal to own property.very backward.u should try workn around Islam marriage,divorce here…OMG..

    • Riska Sari October 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm #

      Without a prenup agreement, his Indonesian wife or husband would lose all his/her asset to government within a year after marriage. I guess it is more a way to protect the right of the Indonesian husband/wife.

  2. Miimi March 11, 2015 at 4:39 am #

    Hi Mike,
    I have been visiting Bali for many years now & it always suprises me how cavaliar many Australians are in their attitudes to respecting & knowing the law there. I know people who are convinced they can own freehold property in Bali , they are also willing to bribe their way out of breaking the law ( not wearing a helmet or not having the correct liicense while riding a motorbike ) . They forget that Bali is part of the largest muslim nation in the world & our hedonistic lifestyle displayed in Bali can be considered disrespectful.

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