Being a Legal Digital Nomad – Expat in Indonesia

Revolutions are generally defined as periods of fundamental change.

Most people would associate them with blood and violence to end the rule of a government or political system and create a new one; think of France, Russia and China. But a revolution can also mean a sudden or complete change in the way people live and work, and for that one we need to think more about “industry”.

The Industrial Revolution lasted less than 100 years and ushered in an age of steam, electricity and machinery; certainly a complete change in the way people lived and worked. The changes, however, were not always seen to be for the better and in the early 19th century the Luddites appeared. They believed that machines threatened jobs and resorted to destroying them as much as they could. But revolutions are hard things to stop and the Luddites did not succeed.

The information revolution

Some would say that we have been living in the information revolution for quite some time now, and it is COVID that has had a significant impact on this in the way we live and work. God knows we’ve found ourselves in situations less than three years ago we could never have imagined – and we’ve had to adapt.

In a recent article, Forbes says that “one of the most exciting things to come out of the pandemic is that companies have come to terms with the fact that they need to listen to their employees and respond to their needs…The hybrid work model seems to be the new normal” . This means more opportunities to combine remote working from home with going to the office, and with this we are seeing “a rapidly emerging trend of workers moving to other countries, as digital nomad.”

Digital nomads are a mix of full-time and part-time workers working in a range of industries and skills; they rejuvenate. Passport-Photo online research shows that IT is the largest segment, followed by creative services, education and training, consulting, coaching and research, sales, marketing and public relations as well as finance and accounting. They work an average of less than 40 hours a week as freelancers for multiple companies, own their own business, or work as regular employees for a single company.

A community as large as some countries

Research of Project without attachment suggests that “the number of digital nomads in the United States has more than tripled in the past few years – from 4.8 million in 2018 to 15.5 million in 2021. And that number is expected to reach 24 million over the next two years. But digital nomads come from all nationalities, not just the United States brother abroad reports their latest findings on digital nomad statistics and they might raise an eyebrow or two because they claim that “there are over 35,000,000 digital nomads across the world of varying nationalities…with ‘economic value’ combined of $787,000,000,000 per year, which is calculated as the total annual spend of digital nomads. They go on to give some perspective to this figure by saying that “if the global digital nomad community were a country, it would be the 38th most prosperous based on gross national income per capita, ranking just after Portugal and Saudi Arabia. .

Wait! What?

And guess what is the most popular destination for this traveling workforce?

Indonesia tops the list of the most popular destinations for digital nomads, with Bali being the jewel in the crown, followed by Mexico, Thailand, Spain, Colombia and Portugal. reliable and constantly improving Internet; fine weather, unless the biblical rains make their way through the alang-alang; a relatively low cost of living, depending on how much red wine you can drink; things to see and do other than sitting in front of a screen most of the day; and easy-to-obtain visas are all important considerations for this growing army of remote workers. Statistical report that “in 2019, Bali had the highest number of digital nomads in any city in Southeast Asia, with almost five thousand digital nomads. Comparatively, Jakarta had only 19 digital nomads living there in 2019!“Yes, we know Bali is not a city, but this statistic illustrates the popularity and potential of the island.

It’s time to awaken Indonesia’s potential

So here’s the point – the world has changed, the workplace and the workforce have changed, and this information, communication and data driven revolution is far from over. We can expect more destinations in Indonesia to take advantage of this growing opportunity, not only to meet the needs of foreign nomads, but also to tap into the country’s digital potential. With a nudge from the people 280 million peopleand with an average age of only 28 (Source: Country Meters), it makes sense for the government to encourage entrepreneurial initiatives and everything related to digital. Evidence of this pudding can be found in recent reports that MIT and Tsinghua universities are planning to build a joint tech campus in Bali.

But a cloud hangs over this utopian summer and it comes in the form of the law. Those who live and work in Indonesia will be well aware of immigration and some pesky things called visas. There are strict rules regarding visas and what you can or cannot do depending on the visa you hold. And the elephant in the room is that you can’t work (and earn money) if you don’t have the right work visa. Period. Same Business Visas don’t allow you to work, so it pays to get the right advice if you’re considering living and working here.

Just last week, Bali Coconut published an article about how immigration is threatening to crack down on digital nomads working in Bali on the wrong visa and even asking the public to report those who break the rules. A bit harsh you might think, but the article goes on to say that “according to immigration data, there are currently 112,000 foreigners staying in Bali.“And the bottom line is that that’s a lot of tax revenue if it’s not declared, even assuming that only 10% of that number are working remotely and illegally.

What is the solution ?

There have been talks around Indonesia issuing a special digital nomad visa online with over 20 other countries, something those in power should work on given the potential positive impact it would have, but it doesn’t. has not yet become a reality. It should be remembered, however, that recent changes in the law have made it easier to apply for and obtain visas to work legally in Indonesia, which makes trying to avoid the process all the more serious in the eyes of your friendly agent. neighborhood immigration. .

AT seven stones indonesia we inform our clients that the best way to do business in Indonesia is legally; by following government rules and regulations, which can sometimes change, as we have recently seen with the passage of the new omnibus laws.

We think Indonesia is getting easier for foreign investors; systems are more transparent; procedures have been improved; and the time it takes, arguably the most important aspect for any business owner, has been drastically reduced. We are here to encourage you to invest in Indonesia and to guide you through the process.

If you are a foreign digital nomad, an effective way to do this is to establish a PT LDCswhich is the Indonesian equivalent of a PTY Ltd. It’s not a complicated process, doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and could be the best solution, especially since we are able to offer representative and virtual office spaces in Bali and Jakarta and help process those all-important work visas as well as the accounting and tax services you’ll need to comply with the law. Food for thought.

If you would like more information or would like to arrange a free consultation, email us at: [email protected] … We would love to hear from you!

By: Andrzej Barski, Co-Founder and Director, Seven Stones Indonesia

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