Indonesian Government: Create a Remote Worker Visa To Boost Digital & Creative Economy

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Our country, Indonesia is in a challenging place due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and places like Bali that rely mainly on tourism have suffered the most. Drastic measures must be taken to stimulate the economy today and in the long run so when the country reopens the abundance we are known for can continue.

Indonesia Aims To Be A Regional Digital Technology Hub

The government of Indonesia is working to boost the digital and creative economy to be less dependent on the tourism sector by changing the name of the Ministry of Tourism into the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy in 2019. The country aspires to become Southeast Asia's Digital Hub by 2020. All of these have been listed in the 2019 Indonesian economic road map, with points of achieving optimization of digital industry financing; fair tax policy; consumer protection and e-commerce operators; human resource education and development; development of information, and communication technology infrastructure.  

The government of Indonesia aims to open up investment opportunities by creating “10 New Bali Project” which will prioritize the following 4 destinations: Toba Lake (North Sumatra), Mandalika (Lombok), Borobudur (Yogyakarta) and Labuan Bajo. We believe a remote worker visa should be a priority to support this new type of tourism. Here are the reasons why.

Remote Workers Are Growing In Number But Face Ambiguity

Remote workers and digital nomads are a growing demographic consisting of over 4.8 million independent workers globally and this may rise drastically due to COVID-19. South East Asia is a popular destination for them especially the islands of Indonesia. Their presence brings economic impact on Food, Travel, and Tourism while they live and travel in Indonesia. Although their presence has become commonplace and beneficial, they have no legal status to work digitally and often face ambiguity. 

Remote Workers Can Contribute Economic Impact For Long Periods Of Time 

Remote Workers are people who travel while working online. Many already live in areas like Bali, and Lombok, in guest houses, hotels, frequenting local restaurants, entertainment venues, and leisure activities for months at a time. Rather than stay for a short vacation as a tourist, this unique population tends to stay for months at a time. This translates into tremendous economic impact especially in smaller cities and islands in Indonesia that need it the most.

Remote Workers Can Teach Specialized Skills To Locals

Many locals on Indonesia's islands rely solely on tourism-related services for their income and sustenance. Since digital workers have skills they can teach to locals to help them create additional income, a specialized visa will allow this more symbiotic connection to occur as a legal connection will become permitted between the two parties.

Recent Survey Data Indicates Commitment To Stay In Indonesia

A recent survey collected in partnership with Digital Nomad Summit found that over 80% of Digital Nomads living in Bali planned to spend time in Bali during 2020-2021.

Tourist Visas Are Still Popular For Digital Nomads

68% of respondents entered Indonesia on a VOA, 60% on a free entry visa (this data may not be the most relevant as there was an emergency visa waiver). This indicates that remote workers will still visit Bali regardless of what types of Visas are available thus a legal status visa would be highly beneficial for Indonesia.

A Majority of Remote Workers Are Open To Paying Taxes

A recent survey collected in partnership with Digital Nomad Summit showed that 64% of respondents would be happy to pay taxes in Indonesia in exchange for a visa. 

Cabinet members and The President of Indonesia must act quickly to introduce an emergency bill to create a legal visa status for remote workers who will bring both economic and intellectual contribution to this incredible nation.