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Work Permit Application: Difficulties Faced

Foreign workers and companies still face a variety of problems during the application of their work and stay permits.


When the Presidential Regulation in 2018 was issued, Joko Widodo, stated that “the new regulation is aimed to cut red tape in an effort to make Indonesia’s investment climate more competitive”. The aim of the 2018 implementing regulations from the Ministry of Manpower and Law and Human Rights was to streamline the work permit and stay permit application procedure. Now over 1 year after the implementation of the new immigration system based on these new regulations, agents and companies are still facing problems when applying for work and stay permits for foreign workers.


The three most used work and stay permits are,

  • Firstly, the Emergency Permit (Emergency ITAS), which is valid for up to 1 month (see also: Urgent Work Permit);
  • Secondly, the Short Term Work Permit, which is valid for up to 6 months (see also: Short Term Work Permit);
  • And thirdly, the Long Term Work Permit, which is valid for up to 12 months (see also: Long Term Work Permit).

Before the foreign worker can enter and start working in Indonesia, the following permits need to be arranged:

  • The Foreign Workers Utilization Plan (Rencana Penggunaan Tenaga Kerja Asing or RPTKA), which mentions to the company’s plan to hire foreign workers;
  • Notification, which contains specific information for each individual foreign worker;
  • eVisa (electronic visa), is issued by the directorate general of immigrationThe visa is a prerequisite for a foreign worker to enter Indonesia and obtain the limited stay permit (see below);
  • Limited Stay Permit (Izin Tinggal Terbatas or ITAS), is either issued by the local immigration or at the airpord. The ITAS allows the foreign worker to stay for a limited amount of time in Indonesia.

The Ministry of Manpower issues the RPTKA and the Notification. These two permits represent the permission for the foreigner to work in Indonesia. Once the foreign worker enters Indonesia using the eVisa, the ITAS will be issued on the airport. Family members of the foreign workers will need to process their ITAS at the local immigration office.

Under the new immigration system, the Ministry of Manpower and Immigration work with a new integrated, which allows smoother processing of all permits.


The integrated immigration system certainly has streamlined the work and stay permit application process. However, unfortunately foreign workers and companies still face a variety of problems during the application of permits. The major problems are:


Very frequently foreign workers receive the wrong ITAS sticker at the airport, which requires them to report to the local immigration office, and re-apply for the ITAS. This process will take up to 10 working days, during which period. During this period the immigration office will retain their passports. This often leads to major problems, as many of these foreign workers have full travel schedules and are unable to stay for a period of 10 working days in Indonesia. As a result, they are often required to cancel the work and stay permit and re-apply for new permits. The government explained that this issue is happening because the Border Control Management is still under maintenance.


The online system of Immigration and the Ministry of Manpower is frequently down for maintenance or system failure. As a result companies or agents cannot submit any application. Moreover, usually these outages will also delay any running applications. Immigration or the Ministry of Manpower usually does not announce these outages beforehand, which makes it very difficult to manage processing times.


The government’s aim to cut the processing times is not very successful. Applications often face delays due to system outages, processing delays at immigration or the issuance incorrect stamps by immigration officers. These factors often lead to processing times which are longer than anticipated.

To date, the work and stay permit application remains complex and unpredictable. Our team of over 50 experts serves over 5000 cases per year and is ready to assist you with your work and stay permit application.