If you follow any Indonesian or Bali related forum, you have probably noticed the numerous discussions going on about the new immigration laws that are soon to come into effect. The new immigration laws affect mainly foreigners married to Indonesian citizens and foreign investors. The main points of the new laws are as follows.

Foreigners married to an Indonesian citizen will now be able to get permanent residency after just two years of marriage. You then only need to report immigration once every 5 years and there is no charge for this.

If a couple divorces after 10 years of marriage, the foreigner can continue living in the country.

Children of a mixed couple can get permanent residency in Indonesia, regardless of their nationality.

Foreigner investors can get permanent residency after just three years, instead of the current five. Indonesians who changed their citizenship can now return to Indonesia and get permanent residency.

For foreigners married to an Indonesian citizen, they will also have the right to work, after obtaining permanent residency. Previously, with the spouse visa, working was forbidden.

The changes are great news and a good sign that Indonesia is becoming more foreigner friendly and supportive of mixed marriages. Foreigners with Indonesian spouses are obviously happy about being able to work.

The government has always had the attitude that allowing foreigners to work will take away jobs from locals. I don’t think this is going to happen with the salaries that most companies pay their staff. I think foreigners are more likely to start small businesses with their spouse, especially in Bali. If they are successful, then it will only lead to more employment opportunities for locals.

Indonesians who have given up their citizenship and want to return to Indonesia to work or start a business, will be able to contribute capital and skills back to their birth country.

The law just needs to signed by the president and then it will hopefully be implemented across the country.

What do you think about the new laws?