Working in Remote Areas in Indonesia Requires Local Reporting for Expats


Local authorities in remote areas require additional reports for expats

It is usually easy for expats to obtain their work permit and stay permit (ITAS) in big cities and popular regions (such as Bali). This is often not the case when foreigners apply for work and stay permits in remote areas. In these remote areas, when usually the Immigration and Manpower office handle a low number of expats, expats face more scrutiny. These local authorities usually impose additional reporting requirements to expats living and working in their region. The central government does not regulate these additional requirements. However, when expats do not follow them, they may cause serious problems for them or their sponsor companies.

In this article we will discuss briefly the standard work and stay permit application process. After that, we will discuss the additional reporting requirements for expats traveling or working in remote areas. Remote areas are cities or locations other than Jakarta or Bali.

Standard work and Stay Permit Application Process

The standard work and stay permit application process consists out of three phases:

Phase 1: Work Permit Application

In the first phase, the sponsor company is required to obtain 2 permits, from the Ministry of Manpower:

  • The RPTKA is a corporate licence that specifies the job titles of foreign workers, the number of foreign workers in a company and the duration of their assignment in Indonesia. It is used as the basis to apply for a foreign worker’s work permit.
  • Once a company has obtained the RPTKA, it can apply for the work permit of a foreign worker. The work permit is also a corporate license which is issued for each individual foreign worker. It specifies their identity, job title, work locations, sponsor company and validity period.

Phase 2: Stay Permit Application

During this phase the foreign worker will obtain the following permits / visas:

  • Telex Visa, from the directorate general of immigration: Once the work permit is ready, the company can pay the visa fees to initiate the application of the telex visa.
  • Limited Stay Visa (VTT), from the selected Indonesian Embassy: Once the telex visa is ready, the foreign worker can obtain the limited stay visa (VTT) sticker at selected Indonesian embassies abroad. The VTT sticker will be placed in the foreign worker’s passport.
  • Stay Permit (ITAS) and Re-entry Permit (MERP), issued by the immigration officer at the airport: Once obtained the VTT sticker, the foreign worker can enter Indonesia and their stay permit and re-entry permit will be issued at the immigration checkpoint on the airport.

Phase 3: Local Permit Application

Upon entry into Indonesia, the foreign worker can immediately start working, however there are still a few permits and reports which needs to be arranged, namely:

  • The police report (STM) from the local police;
  • Certificate of Temporary Residence (SKTT) from the local civil registration; and
  • Existence Report (LK) from the local manpower department.

Additional Requirements in Remote Areas for Foreign Workers

Foreign workers assigned in Jakarta who are traveling to remote areas

When the expats need to visit a remote area, they must obtain any or all of the following permits / reports prior to their arrival to such area:

  • a Travel Permit (SKJ) from the national police;
  • Report to the local immigration office;
  • Report to the local police office; and/or
  • Report to the local manpower office.

In remote areas hotels usually report foreigners who stay at their hotel to the local authorities. In case the company fails to report their foreigner workers to the local authorities, it will significantly increase the risks of audits and will lead to an increased risk of issues with these local authorities. This may ultimately lead to deportation of and re-entry bans for the foreign workers and potential penalties for the employer company of the foreign workers.

Foreign workers who live in remote areas

In case expats are living in the remote area, and their company holds its domicile in this area, they do not require to process any additional local report. However, in case the expat travels to another remote area, then he or she may require a travel permit (SKJ), local immigration report, local police report, and/or local manpower office report.