Working in Indonesia

Updated 2020-05-25 08:41

As Southeast Asia's largest economy and one of the world's fastest-growing economies, Indonesia offers plenty of career opportunities for locals and expats alike. Indonesia's booming economy is perfect for foreign professionals who wish to build their career. It's no wonder that as of 2018, there are nearly 100,000 foreign professionals residing and working in Indonesia.

While Jakarta is considered the nation's economic powerhouse, don't be afraid to explore your options in other cities as well. Cities all over Indonesia are growing steadily, so you should be able to find a promising career path in every corner of the country. Here are some things you must know if you're considering pursuing a career in the archipelago.

Job hunting in Indonesia

As an expat, it's better to find employment from an Indonesian company before entering the country. Doing so will give you enough time to prepare for your visa and work permit. Moreover, you will likely need a sponsor in the form of a company registered in Indonesia in order to submit your visa application.

There are many international firms with offices in Indonesia. If your current employer has a branch in Indonesia, you should consider asking for an internal transfer to Indonesia. But if this isn't an option, you can still look for employment in the country.

The most efficient way to look for a job in Indonesia is through online portals and job forums. There are numerous websites offering information about employment in Indonesia. You should be able to find a good career in one of them. Also, if you already have a city in mind, browse for job openings in the city you'd love to stay in.

Alternatively, if you're already in the country and looking for a career change, you can also consider other job-hunting methods.

Look at job listings somewhere else. The Chambers of Commerce in Indonesia often updates their websites and share job offers by companies looking to hire international candidates. Certain embassies sometimes post job offerings on their websites as well. And of course, you can always attend job fairs to look for a relevant position.

Also, don't underestimate the power of networking. In Indonesia, having the right connections can get you far in your career. As a foreigner in a new country, networking might seem like a daunting task, but don't worry. Indonesians and expats living in the country are very accepting. Try attending expat meetups, going to co-working spaces, and joining communities to expand your network.

Promising sectors in Indonesia

For many years, the Oil and Gas sector has remained the key sectors for foreigners looking for employment in Indonesia. However, as of late, Indonesia's economic boom has led to the growth of other sectors. Aside from the energy sector, here are some other promising sectors for foreign professionals in Indonesia:

  • Education (STEM and language)
  • Auto manufacturing
  • Business services
  • Information technology and communication
  • Tourism
  • Legal
  • Logistics

Labour laws in Indonesia

In Indonesia, employment-related issues are governed by the country's labour laws, which must be followed and cannot be circumvented on a contractual basis.

You should be entitled to the following:

  • A maximum working week of 40 hours, over five or six days
  • At least half an hour's break for every four hours of work
  • Overtime must not exceed three hours per day and 14 hours per week
  • 12 days of annual leave per annum (which is applicable from the second year of employment).
  • Formal public holidays
  • Menstruation leave (up to two days per month), maternity leave (three months), and miscarriage leave (1.5 months) with a doctor's note
  • Obligatory social security and health insurance programs provided by BPJS Ketenagakerjaan and BPJS Kesehatan.
  • Old age benefit/pension
  • Termination package based on most recent monthly salary and duration of service, comprising of severance pay, long-service pay, and compensation for remaining annual leave, repatriation costs, medical, and housing costs

Obtaining a Work Permit in Indonesia

A business visa does not equal a work permit; it will not be enough if you intend to work for a long period of time in Indonesia. An Indonesian business visa will only allow you to do short-term business projects or activities and will not allow you to actively seek employment in the country. Plus, it will only allow you to stay in Indonesia for a maximum of 180 days.

If you want to legally work in Indonesia, you must obtain a work permit. Usually, you will not have to worry about this as your employer should be the one to request government approval to employ foreign professionals.

Here's the process outline. First, your employer must obtain a formal government approval (RPTKA) before you can apply for the stay permit visa (KITAS). Once the RPTKA application has been approved, the company will report your information to the Ministry of Manpower and request for an IMTA. The IMTA legally enables the company to hire a foreign worker and is issued for a maximum period of one year. After that, you'll be able to apply for a KITAS to legally stay and work in Indonesia.

Your CV

It's important to make sure that your resume or CV is adapted to the local standard in Indonesia. Doing so will increase your chances of getting selected as a potential candidate. Luckily, there are no huge differences between the international format to Indonesian's CV standard. Pay attention to these points:

  • Keep it brief; the CV shouldn't be longer than one page
  • Always include a professional, but friendly-looking photo of yourself
  • Provide necessary personal information in the CV
  • Focus on listing your working experience as well as soft skills and hard skills
  • If you are sending your CV directly, make sure it's not folded

Also, consider getting a free CV review at TopCV.

 Useful link:

Indonesia Chamber of Commerce
Glassdoor Indonesia
Best Jobs Indonesia
Monster Indonesia
Work permit regulations in Indonesia
Guide for obtaining a work permit in Indonesia

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.