Fikri Harish, Jakarta – In a bid to lure more 'high-value' foreigners to Indonesia, the government officially launched the second home visa on Wednesday.
While the hefty proof of fund requirements sparked concern among existing retirees, a circular issued on the same day confirmed that the current retirement visa holders can still maintain their visa status pending further decision.
Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly made the announcement on Wednesday during a visit to the Bintan resort island, which lies just off the coast of Singapore.
"We'd like to facilitate [foreign citizens] who believe in Indonesia's natural resources and economic potential and want to invest and develop their business here," said Yasonna.
In his speech, the minister further explained that the applicants to the new visa will be able to take advantage of a new "quick and efficient tech-based service," which Yasonna hopes will be a new benchmark for the Law and Human Rights Ministry.
Previously, Interim Immigration Director General Widodo Ekatjahjana likened the second home visa as a 'freeway' for global investors and businesspeople. "This freeway will also provide other services, including issuance of investment permits, tourism permits, real estate permits, corporate permits and so on," explained Widodo.
These services will be run by the corresponding institutions and will provide exclusive incentives to help lure investors for a five or 10 year extended stay in Indonesia, according to Widodo.
But, these services come at a hefty price, with second home visa applicants required to either deposit Rp 2 billion (US$128,361) to Indonesia state-owned banks, which cannot be touched in any way during their stay in the country or own a local property of equivalent value.
The proof of fund requirements sparked concern among existing foreign retirees, who might not have the assets needed for the new visa type and worry about their future. In a previous circular published on Oct. 25, the second home visa will act as a replacement for the existing retirement visas.
Current retirement visa holders were expected to fulfill the proof of fund requirements 90 days after the circular was issued and apply for the new second home visa. But the new circular reneged on that decision, saying that "current retirement visa holders can maintain their visa status according to previous regulations pending further decision."
Compared to the previous retirement visa, which was applicable only to those aged 55 and above, the new second home visa has no age restrictions.