Indonesia, including the popular island of Bali, will be the latest travel destination to hop on the digital nomad bandwagon, with plans for a visa that would allow remote workers to live there tax-free.
The proposed five-year “digital nomad visa” was announced by Indonesia’s tourism minister, Sandiaga Uno, this week.
Mr Uno said that the country was hoping to bring 3.6 million overseas travellers back to the archipelago in the next year, with a new remote working visa as well as an increased focus on spiritual retreats and eco-tourism.
“In the past, the ‘three Ss’ were sun, sea and sand. We’re moving it to serenity, spirituality and sustainability. This way we’re getting better quality and better impact on the local economy,” Uno told the South China Morning Post on Monday.
The minister said that the five-year remote working visa would allow freelancers to live on islands such as Bali tax-free, providing their earnings come from companies outside of Indonesia.
Uno said that the decision came from research which showed that Indonesia - particularly Bali - was “top of mind” for 95 per cent of remote workers surveyed.
There had been earlier plans for a digital nomad visa in 2021 before they were shelved due to the Covid-19 prevalence on the islands.
“Now with the pandemic handled and all the ministries getting involved and cooperating from the health side to the immigrations office, we believe that this is an opportune time to relaunch this idea,” Uno told reporters.
Current temporary visas for remote workers visiting Indonesia include its Free Visa, Visa on Arrival (VoA), or the Social, Tourist or Cultural Visa - but these last between 30 and 180 days. A five-year visa would be a more clear-cut system for longer-term working visitors.
Indonesia had retained strict travel rules until 7 March, when tourist visas began to be reissued. Now, double vaccinated travellers can visit the islands without the need for tests or quarantine, though travel insurance with cover for Covid-19 treatment is mandatory.
Tourist arrivals to the country hit 111,000 in April, 500 per cent of March’s tourism levels and the highest number of monthly visitors since before the pandemic.