Due to the high rate of unemployment and the fact that the government promotes hiring of locals, finding a job is not easy for a foreigner in Indonesia. To hire foreigners companies require government permission and are required to pay a monthly tax on foreign hires. Additionally they are expected to replace the foreigner with an Indonesian within a given amount of time, and the government monitors the company’s job training efforts. This is one reason foreigners are given contracts on a year to year basis. Teaching jobs are one exception to this rule.

Ministry of Manpower lists professional positions that are open to foreign nationals in Indonesia. Some professions include directors, field experts, managers, technicians and teachers. Work permit rules are not strictly followed when it comes to hires by Foreign Direct Investment companies, as the government is keen for foreign investment.

Another option for employment in Indonesia is to set up a business. It is legal for foreigners to own business in the country and local partners are not required. While the paperwork for setting up such a business is complicated, and differs according to the type of business, many foreigners are involved in tourism related businesses.

Expatriates looking for seasonal work will have a difficult time as obtaining work visa for such work is made difficult by the government’s pro local hire policies. Even with the help of a potential employer, working through the red-tape required for a work permit, might not be worth the effort for a short term employment. Teaching is just about the only job in seasonal employment category where one can land a job easily. Many paid and volunteer teaching positions are available in the various educational institutes. Instructors for the English language are most in demand, but positions in other languages can probably found as well.

To work in Indonesia, it is best to have a contract before landing in the country. Once you land in the country and look for a job, you will be considered a “local hire”. The employer automatically assumes you have all the necessities like a car and house and will not pay anywhere even close to what an “expat” will get for the same job. There will be no remuneration package, amenities or benefits that are typically given to a foreign hire. There will also be no housing, transport, toll, health insurance, personal phone or any other perks that are typically given to the locals. 


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