Work from Bali: Indonesia will let you live and work remotely without paying tax

The newly announced ‘digital nomad’ visa will allow tourists to live and work remotely for upto 5 years without paying tax

You may have known by now what it feels like to work from the comfort of your house since Covid-19 has provided a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reimagine everything about how we do our jobs. However, did you ever imagine what it would be like if you could work from your favourite tourist destination anywhere in the world? And that too without paying any taxes?

Indonesia became the latest country to consider plans to unveil a new digital nomad visa that would allow freelancers to live and work in the country tax-free for up to 5 years. 

As the world reopens after the Covid-19 shutdowns, nations whose tourism sectors were decimated by the lack of visitors are rolling out the red carpet for digital nomads.

The Harvard Business Review recently reported that there are presently 46 nations and territories that offer visas specifically meant for digital nomads (or similar enough equivalents), from Anguilla to Vietnam, turning the trickle that started with Estonia in 2018 into a flood.

The five-year "digital nomad visa" was proposed by Indonesia's minister of tourism, Sandiaga Uno, with the aim of replacing Indonesia's three "S"—sun, sea, and sand—with "serenity, spirituality, and sustainability." The minister reportedly said, "This way, we get more quality and a bigger influence on the local economy," according to Bloomberg.

The Asian nation hopes to attract up to 3.6 million foreign tourists with this new initiative. 

What do we know about the ‘digital nomad’ visa?

The digital nomad visa will be given to freelancers or remote workers who can then live on islands like Bali tax-free. However, according to Uno, the travelers will be eligible for tax-free residency only if their earnings come from businesses outside of Indonesia. 

The special permit is intended to be a quick fix for foreign nationals seeking employment in the Asian nation. The idea is to attract workers with work from anywhere policies by streamlining the application procedure and increasing the frequency of flights to the archipelago.

The five-year visa would become the longest digital nomad visa available compared to other countries, according to Euronews. 

"Now that the epidemic is over and all ministries are participating and collaborating, from the health side to the immigration office, we feel that now is an appropriate time to reintroduce this notion," Uno told the reporters. 

With its warm environment and affordable cost of living, Bali is already a popular option for remote workers. However, the existing visa regulations do not support extended visits.

Digital nomads can currently apply for a temporary visa that will allow them to work from Indonesia. The Visa on Arrival (VoA), which is good for 30 days, the tourist visa, which can be extended for a total of 60 days, and the business visa, which can be extended for up to 180 days are the available options.

The country is yet to announce the procedure and opening date for the new ‘digital nomad’ visa application.