Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Sandiaga Uno, holds a press briefing every Monday morning. Last week Minister Uno announced his tourism targets for Bali for the rest of the year and spoke about how an increase in flight availability will be important to ensure that demand for travel to Bali is met during the high season.
During this week’s press briefing on Monday 27th June, Minster Uno shared the news that the much anticipated Indonesian Digital Nomad Visa is entering the final stages of preparation and will soon be open for applications.
Plans for an Indonesian digital nomad visa have been on the cards for years. If it weren’t for the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent global lockdowns, the visa scheme may well have been up and running already. The visa will offer hundreds of thousands of digital nomads and remote workers the opportunity to call Bali and home and reside as temporary residents.
Speaking at his press briefing Minister Uno said ‘”Discussions regarding visas for digital nomads have entered the final stage and we will continue to coordinate with relevant ministries and agencies. We hope that this can be one of the breakthroughs in regulations’.
In mentioning regulations, Minster Uno could be giving a subtle nod to Indonesia’s Head of the Bali Regional Tourism Promotion Board, Prof. Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati, who last week suggested that the central government must ‘give the correct medicine’ to the Bali tourism sector to help it recover quickly. He specifically referenced that this ‘medicine’ needs to be in the form of increased flights and policy and regulation changes.
It is believed that the digital nomad visa will allow international remote workers to be based in Bali for up to 5-years. This is ideal for digital nomads who like to hop around and perfect for remote workers who want to establish a longer-term home base from which to work.
The visa is thought to allow remote workers the freedom to work online and earn an international income without paying taxes within Indonesia. This digital nomad visa will help to filter out a tricky grey area for many digital nomads who are currently based in Bali on tourism or social visas, or the D212 Multiple Entry Visitor Visa.
The Indonesian government has not released information about eligibility criteria or which countries will be able to apply for the visa. There has also not been information shared publicly about whether the visa will allow multiple entries, or if the visa needs to be applied for outside of Indonesia. It is unclear if people on the digital nomad visa will be permitted to conduct some business activities within Indonesia.
Currently, people who come to Indonesia to run a business or work for an Indonesian-based organisation must have a KITAS permit. People who come to Indonesia for business-related activities such as arranging exports, attending conferences, and giving training but are employed elsewhere can engage in these activities on the D212 visa.
Processing times and eligibility criteria will likely be announced at the launch of the digital nomad visa. Minister Uno did not give a date for the launch of the new visa but travelers can take comfort in the announcement that the process is entering the final stages. In previous press briefings Minister Uno has only been able to confirm that his department is looking into the viability of the scheme.
Although digital nomads and remote workers on the visa would not be required to pay taxes locally, the Ministry of Tourism is hopeful that the influx of temporary residents will bring a positive impact on the local economy. From accommodation in the form of rental properties, office rentals, or revenue for cafes, as well as leisure activities, all digital nomad spending will help create more secure employment for local people.
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