In March 2018, the president issued Presidential Regulation 20/2018 concerning the use of foreign workers, which marked the start of major changes in the application procedures for work permits (managed by the Ministry of Manpower) and stay permits (managed by Immigration, under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights). The Presidential Regulation was followed by implementing regulations from the Ministry of Manpower and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. On November 1, 2018, the new work and stay permit application procedures were implemented. Now four months after the implementation date, we will review implementation of the new application procedures.
Application of Work Permits
Under the previous procedure, expats could obtain a Foreign Manpower Placement Plan (RPTKA) and Work Permit (IMTA) for maximum one year. The RPTKA specifies the job titles of expats, the number of expats in a company, and the duration of their assignment in Indonesia. The IMTA is issued for each individual foreign worker and specifies the identity of the expat, job title, work locations, sponsor company and validity period.
Under the new regulation, the Ministry of Manpower allows a validity of the Foreign Manpower Placement Plan (RPTKA) of maximum five years. In the first months since the implementation of the new application procedures the Ministry of Manpower regularly approved RPTKA applications with a validity period of two years. However, since recently the Ministry has reduced the maximum validity period to one year, which is similar to the previous procedure. Since the notification (replacement of IMTA) is also valid for a maximum period of one year and the processing times have also not been shortened, there are currently no substantial changes to the application of expat work permits.
Issuance of Limited Stay Visa (VTT)
Previously, expats and their family members were required to pick up their limited stay visa (VTT) in one of the 133 Indonesian embassies or consulates abroad. The expat and family members would pay the VTT application fee at the respective embassy.
Under the new procedures the expats’ VTT application fee is prepaid to the Directorate General of Immigration in Indonesia, whereas for the expats’ family members the previous procedure still applies.
Current difficulties faced
Currently, only 22 Indonesian embassies have implemented the new VTT application system, and as a result, expats can obtain their VTT only in these 22 embassies, which are located in:
LIST OF EMBASSIES WHICH PROVIDE VTT COLLECTION FOR FOREIGN WORKERS IN INDONESIA
Our understanding is that the number of embassies will increase once more embassies implement the new application system. The family members of expats are still able to apply for their VTT at any of the 133 Indonesian embassies or consulates abroad.
Another important point to note is that under the current procedure, it is no longer possible to extend the validity of the telex VTT. Once the VTT telex is issued, the expat must endorse the VTT at the Indonesian embassy within 60 days of the date of issuance. Previously it was possible to extend this period by applying for a new VTT telex.
Issuance of Limited Stay Permit (ITAS)
Previously, expats and their family members would need to attend a biometric session at the local immigration office within 30 days of their arrival in Indonesia. After the local immigration had taken their biometrics, they would receive their ITAS stamp in their passport, and Immigration would issue an e-ITAS in the form of PDF.
Under new procedures, the expat will receive his/her ITAS upon arrival in Indonesia. The expat’s biometrics are taken at a special counter at the airport, and once completed, the expat will receive an ITAS sticker in his/her passport. For the family members of the expat, the old procedure still applies. They are thus required to attend a biometric session at the local immigration office in order to receive their ITAS.
Current difficulties faced
At the moment, the Immigration IT system is not yet stable, which leads to the following problems:
- Expats are not yet recorded in the system, and therefore the immigration officer at the airport is unable to issue an ITAS on arrival sticker in the passport of the expat. If this occurs, the expatriate will need to apply for his/her ITAS at the local immigration office within 30 days of arrival into Indonesia.
- Expats obtain the wrong ITAS on arrival sticker. For example, an expat obtains an ITAS sticker which is valid for one month, while the expat applied for a six-month work and stay permit. If this occurs, the ITAS sticker must be revised at the local immigration office.
- Expats obtain the correct ITAS on arrival sticker, however the e-ITAS is not issued within three days after they have arrived in Indonesia. In such a case the expat will need re-apply for his/her ITAS at the local immigration office within 30 days of the arrival in Indonesia.
- Expats are only allowed to enter Indonesia through the following airports, Jakarta, Denpasar, Medan and Surabaya. Any other airport is not equipped to process the ITAS on arrival at the airport.
We therefore advise expats to keep flexible travel dates during the first two weeks in Indonesia, which allows us time to process any ITAS (amendment), in case any of the above problems occur.