Indonesia has introduced a visa specifically for the digital nomad crowd, which is good news for remote workers. A digital nomad visa, allowing workers to go to a south-east Asian resort rather than a dank office, would be very appealing to remote workers in the post-Covid world, with world offices and work habits undergoing such profound changes. By offering a targeted remote work visa first, Indonesia, in particular Bali, will be hugely benefited.
Despite Thailand’s Smart Visa program, it remains very targeted with very strict eligibility requirements. Otherwise, it is extremely difficult to find a job in Thailand and enjoy an alternative work life for a working person. Will Thailand follow suit with a competitive product for immigration? There is a history of refusing to let foreigners stay long-term in Thailand without income guarantees and elaborate paperwork.
Indonesia has been working hard to lure higher-spending tourists, including remote workers, following the Covid-19 pandemic. Sandiaga Uno, Indonesia’s Tourism Minister, says Indonesia will launch a 5 year visa for “digital nomads”, as well as promoting “spiritual tourism”, sports events, and ecotourism.
Now that the world is slowly opening up, the government expects 3.6 million overseas tourists to visit the country’s islands. In this way, the Minister says, more than a million jobs can be created in Indonesia.
The focus is now on serenity, spirituality, and sustainability. Our local economy will benefit from better quality and more impact this way.”
With most entry restrictions now withdrawn, fully-vaccinated travellers can now enter Indonesia without testing or quarantine. In addition, booster vaccine doses continue to be administered for Covid-19. April of this year saw a 500% increase in tourist numbers to 111,000. Since the pandemic began, this is Indonesia’s highest monthly figure.
Indonesian officials hope that the increased flights and more streamlined visa processing will attract more remote workers to the archipelago in light of international companies offering employees the ability to work from anywhere in the world. A survey conducted by Uno recently found that 95% of digital nomads prefer Indonesia – particularly Bali – as a home base.
A digital nomad visa has been under consideration by the Indonesian government since early 2021. The plan, however, was delayed due to recurring Covid-19 outbreaks, resulting in flight suspensions and closure of borders. Foreign workers will be able to stay in Indonesia for up to five years without paying taxes if their income is not earned in Indonesia, according to Uno.
We believe this is the right time to relaunch this idea now that the pandemic has been handled, and all departments have been cooperating from the health to the immigration departments.