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Legal Aspects of Working Remotely from Bali (Indonesia)

Overview of Working Remotely from Bali (Indonesia)

Working remotely from Bali has gained popularity among digital nomads and foreign remote workers who seek a balance between professional obligations and the serene environment of the island. However, navigating the legal landscape is essential for a smooth and compliant stay.


Understanding the legal aspects of remote work in Bali ensures compliance with Indonesian laws, preventing potential legal issues related to visas, taxation, and other regulations. One of the most critical aspects is ensuring that you stay in Indonesia with the proper visa or residence permit that corresponds to your activities. If a remote worker stays in Indonesia with a visa or residence permit that does not align with their actual activities, they risk severe legal consequences, including deportation. For example, if a person enters Indonesia with visa-on-arrival (which typically only allows tourism activities) but engages in remote work, this misalignment can be considered a legal violation. Indonesian Immigration authorities are vigilant in ensuring that all foreigners comply with the terms of their visas and residence permits. Therefore, it is essential to apply for the correct visa.


Proper legal knowledge also protects both the remote worker and their foreign employer. For remote workers, having the correct visa ensures that they can stay in Indonesia legally and enjoy the benefits and protections provided by their residence status. For employers, ensuring that their remote employees are compliant with local immigration laws helps avoid potential legal disputes and maintains the company’s reputation. Overall, understanding and adhering to the legal requirements will provide a secure and lawful working arrangement, allowing remote workers to focus on their professional responsibilities while enjoying the unique lifestyle that Bali or other regions in Indonesia offer.


Understanding the Legal Framework for Remote Work in Bali


Overview of Visas and Stay Permits (Izin Tinggal) Available under Indonesian Law

In Indonesia, it is crucial to understand the distinction between visas and stay permits (Izin Tinggal). A ‘visa’ is a written authorization, issued either manually or electronically by authorized officials, that permits foreigners entry into Indonesia and serves as the foundation for obtaining a stay permit. On the other hand, a stay permit (Izin Tinggal) is an authorization granted to foreigners by Indonesian Immigration Officials or Foreign Service Officials, allowing them to reside in Indonesia, typically for an extended period.


There are several types of visas available depending on the purpose and duration of the stay, including Short-Stay Visas (Visa Kunjungan) and Limited Stay Visa (Visa Tinggal Terbatas or “VITAS”). Visa Kunjungan is intended for tourists, business travelers, and those requiring brief visits, including for pre-investment purposes. These visas cater to individuals who do not plan to remain in Indonesia for extended periods. VITAS, however, are designed for longer stays related to work, family, retirement, or investment, including remote working purposes.


Similarly, stay permits also come in various forms. A Visit Stay Permit (Izin Tinggal Kunjungan) is granted automatically to holders of Visa Kunjunagn upon their entry into Indonesia. For those holding a VITAS, upon entry, they are granted a Limited Stay Permit (Izin Tinggal Terbatas or “ITAS”), which aligns with the validity period of their visa. Additionally, for individuals seeking long-term residency, a Permanent Stay Permit (Izin Tinggal Tetap) is available.


What is the Visa or Stay Permit for Remote Workers in Bali?

For remote workers specifically, the Indonesian government provides a Remote Worker Visa (Index E33G). This visa is classified as a VITAS, which means that it will be automatically converted into an ITAS upon the applicant’s arrival in Indonesia.


To apply for this visa, applicants must follow the guidelines set forth in Article 63 of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights Regulation No. 22 of 2023. The required documents include a passport valid for at least six months, evidence of sufficient funds for living expenses (minimum USD 2,000 or equivalent), a recent color photograph, an employment contract with a company which is registered outside of Indonesia, and proof of income in the form of salary or income worth at least US$60,000 (sixty thousand American dollars) per year.

Before applying for a Remote Worker Visa, it is essential to prepare adequately for the above requirements. For instance, the employment contract to be supplied should specify the terms that the employee is allowed by his or her company to conduct remote working, or if the foreigner is self-employed, they must be able to show appropriate documentation justifying the nature of the work and their employment in their own company.


Additionally, applicants must ensure they have a valid address in Indonesia, as this will determine which immigration office processes their ITAS and monitors their stay. Any change of address must be reported to avoid legal complications.


The validity period for the Remote Worker Visa is one year, with the possibility of an extension.


Taxation and Financial Obligations

Determining tax residency status is a critical aspect for remote workers in Bali, as it dictates their tax obligations. Generally, staying in Indonesia for more than 183 days within 12 months makes an individual a tax resident, subject to local tax laws. Indonesia has Double Taxation Agreements (“DTA”) with various countries to prevent dual taxation on the same income. It is important to verify if one's home country has a DTA with Indonesia and understand its provisions to benefit from tax relief.


Tax residents must file annual tax returns in Indonesia which reports their global income. It is advisable for foreigners who are working remotely from Indonesia to consult a tax professional to ensure their legal compliance with both the Indonesian law and the law of the country where their employer is located.


Legal Implications of Being a Remote Worker in Bali


Manners of Work Conduct

Remote workers in Bali must adhere to specific regulations regarding the nature of their work to avoid being classified as local employees. It is essential that they do not provide services within Indonesian territory, be employed by Indonesian companies, or receive wages from entities based in Indonesia. Violating these conditions can lead to the reclassification of the foreigners’ activities as “working in Indonesia” which is subject to different types of visa and stay permit. Consequently, the foreigners can be seen to have violated their visa and stay permit and being exposed to the risk of deportation.


Intellectual Property Rights

Intellectual Property Rights (“IPR”) created by foreign remote workers residing in Indonesia may be subject to Indonesian intellectual property laws. To protect the rights and interests of both the foreign worker and employer, it is important that employment contracts explicitly define the ownership and protection of intellectual property produced during the remote work period. This includes specifying who holds the IPR and any applicable transfer or licensing terms. Clear IPR clauses in the contract help prevent disputes and ensure that the foreign employer retains control over the creations of their remote employees, while also safeguarding the foreign worker’s contributions.


Dispute Settlement

Dispute resolution for foreign remote workers in Bali will generally follow the governing law specified in their employment contracts. If the employment contract is governed by the laws of another country, for instance: France, then any disputes arising from the employment relationship will be resolved according to French legal processes, not Indonesian law. It is important for remote workers to understand the dispute resolution mechanisms outlined in their contracts, including the choice of law and jurisdiction clauses, to be prepared in the event of any legal issues. This understanding ensures that workers know their rights and the procedures to follow should a dispute occur.


Practical Tips for Foreign Remote Workers in Indonesia

To remain compliant, it is crucial for remote workers to stay updated with any legal developments. Following news and social media channels of the Indonesian immigration authority can help remote workers stay informed about any new regulations or requirements.


However, a recommended way to ensure ongoing compliance is by consulting with a local lawyer. A local lawyer can provide specific guidance tailored to individual circumstances, helping navigate any legal complexities that arise.


Remote workers must also respect all local laws and regulations, including those related to their work conduct. This includes adhering to visa requirements, not providing services within Indonesia, and not being employed by Indonesian companies. Additionally, it is important to respect the local culture and customs to maintain a positive relationship with the local community.


Conclusion

Understanding visa and stay permit requirements, tax obligations, and legal implications is crucial for remote workers in Bali. Seeking professional legal advice helps navigate the complexities of working remotely and ensures full compliance with local laws. For personalized legal support, please don't hesitate to get in touch with our firm, Tampubolon Legal Solutions.


END NOTE: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Specific cases require specific advice, and the content provided herein may not be applicable in all situations. Legal regulations and interpretations can vary widely and may change over time, necessitating consultation with legal experts. If you require specific legal advice or guidance, please contact a qualified legal professional. It is crucial to consult with legal experts before applying the information in this article to ensure compliance with current legal standards and requirements.


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Employment Lawyer Indonesia - Tampubolon Legal Solutions

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