Indonesia is already well known for its tough laws and regulations for working visas for foreigners looking to work in the country. Unfortunately, new rules are being put in place to make the rules even stricter. The changes were outlined in a recent article on their website by the Jakarta based consultancy Indosight.

The summary of the changes as the way I see it include:

– Companies have always needed to get approval from the Manpower department to employ foreigners. This permit is known as an IMTA (Izin Mempekerjakan Tenaga Kerja Asing) and is apparently getting more difficult for companies to obtain.

– Interview with Manpower. You are required to pass an interview with the Ministry of Manpower. I am sure this could be a little intimidating for anyone new to Indonesia.

– Visas are only for 6 months in some jobs, instead of the usual 12 months. It can also take around two months to process the visa. Since you have to hand over your passport for the application process, you could be without your passport for up to four months a year as your visa gets processed. Not an ideal situation who has to travel regularly outside of the country.

– Immigration are now demanding that employees need to have worked in their industry in their native country for at least five years. Your previous employers will need to provide documented evidence of this. They must also hold the relevant qualifications to the work they will be doing in Indonesia.

– Maximum age limit of 55 for some industries, such as oil and gas.

– You are required to train an Indonesian employee, so they will have the skills and knowledge to carry out your job.

– The government has also talked about foreigners having to pass a Bahasa Indonesia test to get the visa.

I can understand the government for wanting to protect local jobs, but I think you could also argue that foreigners who come to Indonesia also bring useful skills, knowledge and often investment dollars. It is expensive to hire a foreigner, so I am sure companies would prefer to hire Indonesian workers if they had the required skills.

What do you think? Are the rule changes going to help or hinder the country’s development?