Bali’s Gilded Invitation: Unpacking the Controversies of Indonesia’s Golden Visa

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Recently confirmed by Indonesia’s Director General of Immigration, Silmy Karim, the new Golden Visa policy will provide high-worth individuals, independent investors, and corporate investors with a 5-10-year residency status in Indonesia. 

While it aimed to usher in more foreign interest and boost the national economy, not all agreed regarding its implementation.

Voices of Concern

According to a report published by The Bali Sun, Azril Azhari, a noted tourism expert, has expressed reservations about the new visa. He believes the policy blurs the lines between tourism, business, and investment. 

With reports of long-stay visitors in Bali misusing the pre-investment visa category to work and remain on the island long-term, Azhari raises a pertinent question: “Will the Golden Visa be intended for investors or foreign tourists? Golden Visa Indonesia, for whom?”

Per the report, highlighting the UNWTO’s definition of a tourist, he elaborated that someone residing in a country for more than one year can’t be termed a tourist but rather a worker.

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Hence, introducing the Golden Visa seems to deviate from the globally acknowledged definitions.

Additionally, with applicants needing to invest between USD 2.5 million and USD 5 million, depending on the visa duration, Azhari fears this could open doors to illegal foreign working.

Clarity Sought on Investment Routes

The report noted that Azhari further indicates that current regulations mandate foreigners to partner with Indonesian companies, limiting their ownership to 50%.

With the Golden Visa aiming at investors, who ensures these investments are realized within Indonesia?

Furthermore, suppose investment is the primary aim, primarily to boost tourist hotspots like Bali. In that case, Azhari suggests that the Foreign Investment Agency (BMA) should play a more direct role in overseeing the process.

A Glimpse into the Golden Visa’s Potential

The report added that in an exciting development, the first recipient of this visa will be Samuel Altman, CEO of OpenAI.

The Department of Immigration perceives this as an initial effort to bolster the Artificial Intelligence ecosystem within Indonesia.

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Bali’s Golden Opportunity

According to a report published by The National, Historically known for its mesmerizing beaches and serene environment, Bali has long been a preferred destination for tourists, expatriates, and digital nomads. 

The introduction of the Golden Visa, first announced during the G20 Bali summit, aims to simplify long-term residency and promote foreign investment.

The report noted that this visa will target international health, research, and technology talent. 

The Indonesian government aims to generate 4.4 million new jobs in creative industries by the coming year.

This visa offers multiple privileges, from property ownership in Bali to faster visa processes and even a potential fast track for citizenship.

While the Golden Visa holds promise, Bali’s tourism sector has changed significantly.

Stricter tourism rules have been implemented due to unruly behavior by tourists, leading to deportations and restrictions on activities like mountain hiking.

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