Indonesia overtakes Thailand with new 5-year digital nomad visa

Yes, remote workers have finally gotten a break with Indonesia announcing a visa specifically for the digital nomad crowd. In the post-Covid world, with global office and work habits undergoing such profound changes, the option of a digital nomad visa, where remote workers could work in a resort town in Asia south-east rather than in a humid office, will be very attractive. Indonesia, especially Bali, will be huge beneficiaries by offering a targeted remote work visa first.

Thailand, on the other hand, has the Smart Visa, but remains very targeted with quite onerous conditions to obtain them. Otherwise, it is very difficult for a worker to come to Thailand, in the medium or long term, and enjoy an alternative professional life. Will Thai immigration follow and come up with a competitive product? History suggests they are reluctant to allow foreigners to stay in Thailand long-term without income guarantees and a lot of paperwork.

As the world begins to reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic, Indonesia has stepped up its efforts to attract high-spending visitors, including remote workers. Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno said Indonesia is launching a 5-year “digital nomad” visa, along with “spiritual vacations, sporting events and eco-tourism.”

He believes these efforts will attract 3.6 million foreign visitors to the country’s islands now that the world is reopening. The minister said reviving tourism in this way is expected to create more than a million Indonesian jobs.

“We are moving it towards serenity, spirituality and sustainability. In this way, we obtain a better quality and a better impact on the local economy.

Indonesia has now dropped most of its entry restrictions, with fully vaccinated travelers able to enter the country without any testing or quarantine requirements. Covid-19 numbers remain low and booster doses of vaccine continue to be given. In April this year, the number of tourists increased by 500% to 111,000. This is the highest monthly figure for Indonesia since the start of the pandemic.

With international companies such as Twitter and Airbnb allowing their employees to work from anywhere in the world, Indonesian officials hope increased flights and streamlined visa processing will attract more remote workers to the country. archipelago. According to Uno, a recent survey of digital nomads found that 95% prefer Indonesia – Bali, in particular – as a base.

The Indonesian government has been considering the introduction of a digital nomad visa since early 2021. However, recurring Covid-19 outbreaks, leading to flight suspensions and border closures, have delayed the plan. Uno says the new digital nomad visa will allow foreign workers to stay in the country for up to 5 years without paying taxes, provided their income is not earned in Indonesia.

“Now, with the pandemic being managed and all government departments getting involved and cooperating on the health side of the immigration office, we believe this is an opportune time to relaunch this idea.”

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