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No permits required by foreigners in start-ups

The omnibus bill on job creation would scrap requirements for foreign workers in start-ups to obtain written permits, a move seen by businesses as an effort to help bridge the country’s skills gap.

The sweeping bill states that foreign workers must get written permits except for members of boards of directors and commissioners, diplomatic and consular staff, those working at start-ups, in professional training, on business visits, doing research for a short period or doing machine maintenance for production in emergency situations.

A presidential regulation would be issued to regulate certain positions and service periods to be fulfilled by the foreign workers.

Meanwhile, the current Labor Law stipulates that only diplomatic and consular staff are exempted from getting the written permits.

“It’s OK to hire foreign workers,” Indonesia E-Commerce Association (idEA) chairman Ignatius Untung told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday. “But instead of exempting them from acquiring a permit, the government can make the permit application easier.”

The government initiated the bill to cut regulatory red tape and ease business processes in the hope to attract more investment to jack up the country’s sluggish economic growth. If passed into law, the bill would amend more than 1,000 articles in some 80 prevailing laws.

Ignatius said easing foreign worker restrictions for the country’s start-ups could help Indonesia close its digital talent gap and encourage the transfer of knowledge. However, a permit was still needed to prevent foreign tech-savvy workers from flooding into the country and hampering the growth of local talent.

Indonesia’s digital economy is expected to reach US$130 billion in market value by 2025, triple the $40 billion valuation of 2019, with the e-commerce and ride-hailing sectors driving most of the growth, according to the 2019 e-Conomy SEA study conducted by United States technology giant Google, Singaporean holding company Temasek and management consulting firm Bain & Company.

The country itself has four unicorns, start-ups valued at more than $1 billion, out of 11 in Southeast Asia, the study revealed.

According to, a website that collects worldwide start-up data based on registration, Indonesia has the most start-ups in Southeast Asia with 2,192 as of February.

The government, Ignatius said, could partner with associations in determining what type of skills are still needed in the country and in issuing recommendations.

Ignatius added that Indonesia should let international universities open their branches in the country to educate future local data scientists and artificial intelligence (AI) engineers, among other professions.

Ease of hiring foreign labor in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2019.

Ease of hiring foreign labor in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2019. (World Economic Forum/Global Competitiveness Report 2019)

“Instead of waiting for the Indonesian diaspora to come home, we should bring the lessons here,” Ignatius said. “That way, we get the skills and we can retain the human resources too.”

The McKinsey Global Institute and the World Bank projected Indonesia would see a shortage of 9 million skilled and semiskilled workers in the digital sector between 2015 and 2030.

According to a McKinsey & Company report titled Automation and the Future of Work in Indonesia, there will be 10 million jobs in new occupations that do not exist today by 2030. A projected 27 million to 40 million new jobs will be created in the same period if Indonesians learn new skills, versus the 23 million jobs that could be displaced by automation.

“The challenge is how to reskill at least 23 million people whose jobs are being replaced. Not to mention that in 2030, there will be 25 million new people entering the workforce,” McKinsey Indonesia managing partner Philia Wibowo said in an interview with the Post in September.

Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) vice chairwoman for international relations Shinta Kamdani expressed confidence that Indonesian start-ups did not solely rely on foreign talent in running their businesses, despite acknowledging that the country still needed assistance in filling the digital talent gap.

“All of Indonesia’s unicorns are local start-ups. So, there is no need to have negative assumptions about foreign workers” Shinta said. “What’s important is that start-ups can develop, and they can bring benefits to the country.”

She went on to say that partnerships between local start-ups and international entities often happened. The start-ups, she added, should not limit their collaboration only to other local organizations or businesses.

This article originally posted by Jakarta Post.

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Foreign investment in Indonesia’s e-commerce sector

To focus on the development of e-commerce potential of the country, the Indonesian government recently opened up the sector for foreign investment. In 2016, through the Presidential Decree No. 44/2016, Indonesia announced changes to its Negative List by removing the e-commerce industry from the list of prohibited sectors.

The updated list permits 100 percent foreign ownership of e-commerce businesses and companies approved by the country’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). The caveat, however, is that the foreign e-commerce business must invest at least 100 billion IDR (US$6.67 million) in the business; or, create at least a 1,000 new employment positions for local workers through the foreign investment.

Investors that do not meet the threshold of US$6.67 million can opt for a joint venture with a local partner; investment below the IDR 100 billion levels is limited to a maximum 49 percent stake.

E-commerce businesses that can be fully (100 percent) owned by foreigners include the following:

  1. Reservation websites for services such as hotel or restaurants;
  2. Web portals that publish contents such as articles, audios, and videos using the content provided or made by the users; and
  3. Marketplace websites that enable the sellers to meet the buyers.

E-commerce businesses that cannot be fully owned by foreigners, and have a maximum permissible limit of 49 percent partnership include the following

  1. Content publishing websites made by the company itself;
  2. Marketplace websites with opportunities for the sellers to advertise their products or services.
  3. Distribution services websites that allow the company to deliver services.

The ease in regulatory environment sets out a strong foundation for the e-commerce industry in the country. It gives foreign companies with a low budget a chance to explore Indonesia’s local market and simultaneously helps domestic companies get access to foreign know-how in the sector.

The presence of liberal government legislation along with Indonesia’s evolving digital landscape offers businesses a unique opportunity to tap its growing e-commerce potential.

If you’re an investor or just starting to establish such business, you will need more to digital industry guidelines, business licensing and advising. Contact us for e-commerce and technology industry legal practice at +62 21 5082 0033 or mail to

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Pajak E-Commerce, Termasuk Toko Online di Media Sosial

Kementerian Keuangan (Kemkeu) segera mengeluarkan peraturan menteri keuangan (PMK) mengenai pajak untuk bisnis jual beli online (e-commerce) dalam waktu dekat. Dalam hal ini, Ditjen Pajak serta Ditjen Bea dan Cukai diminta untuk bersinergi oleh Menteri Keuangan Sri Mulyani. DJP dan DJBC diminta untuk bekerja sama melihat respon dari munculnya suatu aktivitas baru yang menggunakan platform digital. Baik itu dari sisi yang disebut over the top (OTT) ataupun marketplace.

Direktur Jenderal (Dirjen) Bea dan Cukai Heru Pambudi menyatakan bahwa dalam perpajakan sektor e-commerce ini memang membutuhkan sinergi antara DJBC dan DJP. Pasalnya, produk-produk e-commerce banyak yang berasal dari luar negeri. Ada pula produk dari perdagangan online yang diekspor ke negara lain dari Indonesia. Sri Mulyani mengatakan, sebelum memformulasikan kebijakan dari sisi perpajakan pihaknya akan terus berkoordinasi dengan dunia usaha.

Bagi pelaku e-commerce yang tidak menggunakan platform atau website melainkan media sosial seperti Instagram dan Facebook, Ken Dwijugiasteadi Dirjen Pajak menjelaskan toko online pribadi juga akan kena pajak.

Untuk pengawasannya, Ditjen Pajak akan bekerja sama dengan perusahaan jasa kurir untuk melihat data pengiriman. Ditjen Pajak akan mendeteksi nilai transaksi online melalui jasa kurir yang ada, sehingga bisa memperoleh data yang sebenarnya.

Adapun model pemungutan pajak pertambahan nilai (PPN) untuk transaksi e-commerce masih belum ditentukan, banyak pihak yang menyatakan bahwa national payment gateway (NPG) dapat menjadi model pemungutan yang paling tepat. Bank Indonesia pun mendukung kebijakan untuk mengadopsi pemungutan PPN via NPG tersebut.

Pasalnya, seluruh bank, payment gateway, dan jasa pembayaran lainnya terkoneksi dengan Lembaga Switching NPG. Oleh karena itu, dengan NPG, data-data transaksi domestik secara elektronik di Indonesia akan terekam. Data-data tersebut dapat digunakan untuk pengaturan dan pengawasan, perlindungan konsumen, serta untuk hal lainnya yang diminta UU atau ketentuan lainnya. Data-data tersebut dapat pula digunakan untuk pajak.

Direktur Eksekutif Center for Indonesia Taxation Analysis (CITA) Yustinus Prastowo mengatakan, idealnya pemilik toko atau yang berjualan sebagai wajib pajak pemungut (WAPU) PPN. Apabila skema itu digunakan, maka setiap marketplace harus melakukan deklarasi dan pajaknya bisa dilihat dari setiap pembayaran konsumsi via payment gateway.

Menurut Yustinus, cara ini lebih mudah dibandingkan dengan kabar yang berkembang selama ini bahwa jasa kurir bakal bertindak sebagai WAPU PPN e-commerce. Jika jasa kurir sebagai WAPU, dikhawatirkan akan mendorong modus baru, yakni penyerahan barang secara langsung dan bayarnya juga tunai.

Namun, kedua model pemungutan dan pengawasan PPN ini masih perlu dikaji ulang agar tidak menimbulkan perpindahan penjual akibat pajak yang terlalu mengekang e-commerce. Diperlukan kebijakan yang setara dari Ditjen Pajak. Tidak hanya sekadar online dan offline, tapi juga sesama online seperti platform jualan dan media sosial.

Artikel ini digubah dari berbagai sumber: detikKontan,

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