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New Bali visa won’t attract wealthy investors in droves: analysts

Shoeb Kagda
Published Thu, Oct 27, 2022 · 08:08 PM

INDONESIA’S new visa regulations to woo wealthy global citizens to reside in Bali will have a positive impact, but the scheme is not likely to attract them in massive numbers, said business leaders and expatriates living in Indonesia.

On Wednesday (Oct 26), Indonesia announced that it would offer “second home” visas for five years and 10 years to those with at least two billion rupiah (S$180,711) in their bank accounts. The policy takes effect on Christmas, or 60 days after the issuance of the new rule.

“This new visa is aimed at professionals, not necessarily digital nomads, to make Bali their base,” said Miguel Latorre, head of the HR Working Group at the European Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia. “I don’t see a massive number of people being attracted, but it is a positive move by the Indonesian authorities.”

The process, he added, was simple and clear, but what remains uncertain is exactly what the visa allows its holders to do in Indonesia.

“What are the visa holders entitled to? Can they, for example, travel to Jakarta for business meetings or is this purely targeted at retirees?” he noted. “I suspect there will be amendments and changes to the new visa requirements announced in the coming weeks.”

Latorre, who is also the managing director of Vistra, a firm that helps foreign firms set-up operations in Indonesia and Malaysia, added that some areas of the new visa remain unclear, but the scheme is competitive with other countries offering similar arrangements.

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Bali has seen an explosion of digital nomads residing on the island since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic more than two years ago.

The current visa scheme allows digital nomads to stay in Bali for up to five years and to live there tax-free. When it was launched last year, the government expected as many as three million people to apply, although many of the details still remain unclear.

“This is a non-fiscal incentive for certain foreigners to make a positive contribution to the Indonesian economy,” said Acting Director-General for Immigration Widodo Ekatjahjana during a launch ceremony at the resort island. 

Aside from high-net worth individuals, those who are eligible for the visa include foreign investors and highly skilled workers, he said.

Currently, any foreigner wanting to work in Indonesia needs to apply for a work permit, which is valid for one year.

Indonesia will host the G20 Summit in Bali in the middle of November, and there will be an influx of foreign delegates and officials to the resort island. The announcement of the new visa also coincides with a sharp rebound in international tourist arrivals as the island’s hospitality sectors rebound from the pandemic.



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