What positions in companies can foreigners hold in Indonesia?

The question of employing foreign workers in Indonesia is very complex and comprehensive. It is regulated by numerous legislative acts.
Various authorities, including the police, immigration service, tax authorities, and labor inspection, can be involved in checking the status of foreign workers.
In this brief article, I intentionally omit the issues related to obtaining work permits, opening companies with foreign capital, obtaining work visas (KITAS), and several other important matters. Instead, I want to draw your attention to one specific aspect that is often overlooked by both employers and employees, which is the positions or roles within a company that foreigners can hold.
The fact is that not every position within a company is open to foreign employees in Indonesia. There are restrictions in place, regardless of whether the company is entirely local or has a foreign segment in its ownership structure.
The positions available to foreign applicants are determined by decrees issued by the Ministry of Manpower and Transmigration for each specific industry. Therefore, before opening a company in Indonesia and hiring foreign professionals, make sure that the job vacancy falls within a category open to foreign workers.
Mostly, positions open to foreign workers are those that require high salaries and high levels of expertise. The logic behind this is that there is usually a sufficient pool of local candidates for low-skilled labor, and foreign experts are expected to train local employees for future replacements. However, this rule does not apply to top administrative positions in a local company that consists of 100% Indonesian capital. For example, a foreigner cannot become the director of such a company.
Below is a list of positions open to foreign workers in the food industry (production and processing) as approved by the relevant decree from 2013. The list is provided in English for clarity. It's worth noting that this list is quite extensive for this industry, while other industries may have fewer positions open to foreign workers. For more detailed information, you can seek legal advice.
  • President Commissioner
  • Commissioner
  • President Director
  • Director
  • Financial Director
  • Marketing Director
  • Purchasing Director
  • Operational Director
  • Production Director
  • Engineering Director
  • Factory Director
  • General Manager
  • Financial Manager
  • Research and Development Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Purchasing Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Brand Manager
  • Export Import Manager
  • Information Technology Manager
  • Factory Manager
  • Logistics Manager
  • Material Manager
  • Product Design Manager
  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Quality Control Manager
  • Warehouse Manager
  • Financial Advisor
  • Information Technology Advisor
  • Laboratory Advisor
  • Logistic Advisor
  • Product Design Advisor
  • Product Development Advisor
  • Purchasing Advisor
  • Quality Assurance Advisor
  • Quality Control Advisor
  • Chemical Advisor
  • Marketing Advisor
  • Market Research Advisor
  • Quality Control Supervisor
  • Quality Assurance Supervisor
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Food Specialist
  • Production Engineer
  • Nutritionist
  • Quality Control Engineer
  • Mechanical Maintenance Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • After Sales Service Engineer
  • Commissioning Engineer
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