Indonesian tourism officials have repeatedly stated a desire for the nation to create a digital nomad visa. In particular, Sandiaga Uno, the country’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister, has championed this effort.
The government is currently working on a draft of the digital nomad visa policy.
Nonetheless, critics of the proposed measure feel that Uno is using the wrong strategy to attract high-value tourists. Instead, they suspect such a visa would lead to gentrification.
A long-term digital nomad visa would allow tourists to live in the country for extended periods while working for foreign companies or even their own online businesses.
The head of Bali’s Tourism Agency, Tjokorda Bagus Pemayun, recently gave an interview sharing his perspective.
Pemayun stated that a digital nomad visa is essential and suggested that fast implementation should be a priority. Bali already hosts a significant amount of remote workers from other nations.
As Pemayun noted, digital nomads aren’t on traditional vacations. Instead, they prefer to work and live in Bali even as they enjoy many of the same attractions short-term tourists flock to.
Some have repeatedly extended their visas for that purpose, which a specialized visa would make unnecessary.
Additionally, current digital nomads in Bali are there on tourist visas. Though this might not seem like a problem, it is.
Tourist visas don’t allow visitors to work within the country, so supervising their professional activities is difficult or even impossible. Secret remote work violates immigration laws in Bali and many other nations.
Indonesia is far from the only country grappling with these issues. Dozens of others have created or are in the process of creating digital nomad visas or residency permits.
Dubai, Germany, Spain, and Italy are just a few. So far, Thailand is the only other Southeast Asian country with a digital nomad visa in the works.