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Key Points

  • The Indonesian Ministry of Manpower announced that foreign nationals can now apply for Work Permits from outside the country.
  • To apply for Work Permit while offshore, employers must first receive a Letter of Recommendation from BKPM.
  • The Letter of Recommendation is provided to relevant government agencies and gives approval and permission to the employer to hire foreign nationals.
  • Once the employer has obtained the BKPM Letter of Recommendation, the foreign national’s work application can be filed with the Ministry of Manpower.
  • Another option for employers is to apply for a single-entry Business Visa which will allow foreign nationals to enter the country and apply for a Work Permit without a BKPM Letter of Recommendation.


Last week, the Ministry of Manpower in Indonesia announced that offshore Work Permit applications for foreign nationals are now being accepted. However, foreign nationals residing outside of Indonesia are required to first obtain a Letter of Recommendation from the investment authority, Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal (BKPM).

Alternatively, employers can first apply for a single-entry Business Visa for foreign nationals to use to enter the country. Once the foreign national is in Indonesia, the employer can apply for a Work Permit and/or Stay Permit with the Ministry of Manpower without needing the BKPM Letter of Recommendation.

What Are the Changes?

Previously, Work Permit applications were only being accepted if submitted from within the country. The Ministry of Manpower is now allowing employers to apply for Work Permits while foreign nationals are outside of the country under the condition that they obtain a Letter of Recommendation from the investment authority, BKPM.

Looking Ahead

The exact requirements and processing times for receiving the Letter of Recommendation are not yet known. Employers should consider the urgency of their Work Permit applications before choosing whether to apply offshore and wait to obtain a BKPM Letter of Recommendation, or apply for a single-entry Business Visa to bring foreign nationals into Indonesia and apply for a Work Permit internally without the Letter of Recommendation.

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