Indonesia will soon offer a visa that will allow remote workers to live there tax-free as long as their income comes from outside the country.
This would mean that freelancers could work from popular destinations like the island of Bali.
The proposed five-year “digital nomad visa” was announced by Indonesian Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno this week.
Mr Uno hopes the program will help attract 3.6 million foreign travelers to the archipelago over the next year, combined with an increased focus on spiritual retreats and ecotourism.
The decision is also expected to create up to a million jobs without taking any away from local residents.
Indonesia’s new digital nomad visa will allow remote workers to live in places like Bali (pictured) tax-free
The scheme is part of a plan to bring millions of visitors to Indonesia and create jobs for residents (pictured: tourists on a beach in Bali)
Mr Uno revealed that the decision was based on research that showed Indonesia was “the priority” for 95% of remote workers who took the survey.
Similar plans for a digital nomad visa were in the works last year, but had to be put on hold due to the pandemic.
Mr Uno said: “Now that the pandemic is managed and all ministries are involved and cooperating on the health side of the immigration office, we believe the time is right to revive this idea.”
There are currently a variety of visas available for remote workers wishing to visit Indonesia, including visa on arrival (VoA), tourist or cultural visa and the country’s free visa, but these only last between 30 and 180 days.
There are other countries that offer similar visas, such as Georgia, Croatia, and Portugal.
VisaGuide lists a total of 26 countries that currently accept digital nomad visas, and these are: Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cabo Verde, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Curacao, Dominica , Dubai, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Iceland, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montserrat, Norway, Seychelles, Spain, Taiwan and Czech Republic.
Working as a digital nomad has become increasingly popular as many more people have started working from home over the past few years.
In early 2020, an American couple made international headlines when they were deported from Bali after working as digital nomads without the proper visa.
An American couple who moved to Bali from Los Angeles to become “digital nomads” have been deported after calling the island “queer friendly” and possibly violating immigration laws. Kristen Gray and her partner Saundra Alexander
The couple moved to Bali in January 2020 and stayed during the pandemic
Kristen Gray moved from Los Angeles with her girlfriend, Saundra Alexander, to Bali and worked as a graphic designer and travel influencer.
She tweeted that she enjoyed “a high lifestyle at a much lower cost of living”, which ultimately led to her expulsion.
She praised the benefits of their move to Bali, she said the island was “queer friendly” and home to a “black community in Bali”.
Indonesian officials say they may have violated several immigration laws, promoting an e-book that tells people how to circumvent strict regulations barring foreigners from visiting Bali, encouraging people to flout COVID-19 rules.
The country’s borders have been closed to foreigners during the pandemic.
Kristen Gray and her partner, Saundra Alexander, with Indonesian officials
Although same-sex relationships are not illegal in most of Indonesia, the country’s LGBT community has faced increasing pressure in recent years and their rights are limited.
Gray said they didn’t break any laws and were sent back to the United States because she “released an LGBT statement.”
In the now-deleted tweets that quickly went viral, Gray said the couple’s dream move was a “game changer” and that they were working remotely as the island’s “digital nomads”.
“Leaving America in my twenties was a game changer. I’ve been living in Bali, Indonesia for over a year with my girlfriend,” she wrote.
Gray said they originally planned to stay just six months to “elevate our lifestyle” after spending 2019 “broken”.
“After being rejected for jobs and living off my savings trying to grow my business, my girlfriend and I decided to book one-way flights to Bali, Indonesia,” she wrote.
She compared their lifestyle in Los Angeles to the lifestyle they enjoyed in Bali.
“This island has been amazing because of our high lifestyle at a much lower cost of living.
“I was paying $1300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for $400,” she tweeted alongside a photo comparing the two houses.
Gray also opened up about their jobs as “digital nomads” and how she worked for herself from the island.
‘Being a digital nomad is everything, I was able to successfully transition my graphic design business on the go.
“I work 100% for myself; at first it was hard but i have grown so much as an entrepreneur,” she wrote.
“In March when the pandemic hit and our 6 month plan was scrapped, we decided to stay in Bali to ‘wait’ and have been here ever since.”
Gray then listed some “major benefits of moving to Bali,” including: “Luxurious Lifestyle,” “Low Cost of Living,” “Black in Bali Community,” “Safety,” and “Queer Friendly.”
Gray held a visitor’s residence permit, valid until January 24, meaning she did not overstay but did not have a visa to work in the country.
Gray insisted they had not committed a crime and were being targeted because they were gay.
‘I am not guilty. I haven’t overstayed my visa. I did not earn any money in Indonesian rupiahs in Indonesia,” she told the Balinese press.
His six-month ban from the country ended last year and the couple could return on the new digital nomad visa.