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2023: A Year in Review

As the sun sets on 2023, foreign investors in Bali and Lombok can reflect on a year that brought both significant legal changes and continued economic promise. From regulatory shifts to legal challenges, let’s explore the key highlights that shaped the legal landscape for investors in these Indonesian gems.


Regulatory Landscape Shifts


1. Property Ownership: Simplified Leaseholds


The revision of the Land Law finally materialized, providing greater clarity and flexibility for foreign property ownership through leasehold arrangements. This change significantly enhances the appeal of Bali’s real estate market to foreign investors. Whether you’re eyeing beachfront villas or lush rice terraces, the revised Land Law streamlines the process of acquiring property. As the regulations have been updated, understanding these changes fully is crucial to ensure your interests are protected. Vidhi Law Office is here to guide you through every step of the process.


2. Tourism Tax: Balancing Revenue and Sustainability


Bali's new tourism tax, effective February 14, 2024, has ignited debate, with concerns swirling about its potential impact on visitor numbers. The tax, set at 150,000 Rupiah (approximately $10) for all visitors regardless of age, will be collected at Denpasar International Airport Ngurah Rai and payable in Rupiah or by credit card. However, the government has sought to assuage anxieties by pledging to channel the collected revenue directly towards environmental conservation, nature preservation, cultural enhancement, and overall infrastructure improvements, aiming to ensure a more sustainable and enriching experience for future visitors.


3. Investment Incentives: Opportunities Abound


The Indonesian government remains committed to attracting foreign investment. Attractive incentives persist for businesses operating in key sectors such as, infrastructure, and legal sector. These incentives can significantly reduce operational costs and boost profitability for foreign ventures.


In 2023, the Indonesian government announced a range of new incentives for international firms to invest in its new capital, Nusantara. The government will provide up to 100 percent corporate tax holiday for companies investing at least 10 billion rupiah ($650,745) in the new capital. However, it’s important to note that these incentives are exclusively available to companies operating in the infrastructure and legal services sectors5. Understanding these regulations is crucial for businesses to ensure compliance and mitigate risks.


As an investor, staying informed about these incentives is crucial for strategic decision-making.


Legal Spotlight


1. Foreign Worker Visa Regulations: Navigating Compliance


Stricter regulations governing foreign worker visas underscore the importance of securing proper work permits and adhering to immigration laws. For foreign businesses employing expatriates, legal expertise is essential.


In 2023, Indonesia began accepting offshore Work Permit applications for foreign nationals. Furthermore, Law No. 6 of 2023 was enacted. This law reintroduced the provision allowing companies to partially subcontract work and also implemented changes to the minimum wage stipulation. Businesses need to comprehend these regulations to ensure compliance and minimize risks.


2. Environmental Protection: Challenges and Opportunities

In 2023, the legal landscape for foreign investors in Bali and Lombok underwent significant developments, particularly in the area of dispute resolution. The year saw a surge in the adoption of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation, which emerged as a faster and more cost-effective method to resolve commercial disputes. This trend proved especially beneficial for foreign investors, who often grapple with complex business transactions. The understanding of these dispute resolution options became crucial, and legal advisors played an instrumental role in guiding clients toward efficient resolution methods. These advancements in the legal framework further bolstered Bali and Lombok’s reputation as attractive investment destinations. Exploring alternative dispute resolution mechanisms was a key focus, reinforcing the commitment to creating a conducive environment for foreign investments.


2024: An Eye on the Horizon


1. Elections and Legal Implications


The upcoming presidential election in Indonesia looms large on the horizon. Scheduled for February 14, 2024, this general election aims to elect the President, Vice President DPR, DPD, DPRD/Province, and DPRD/regency. The election outcome will shape Indonesia’s policies and governance, and investors should closely monitor developments.


2. Bali Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project


The Bali Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is a significant infrastructure development set to commence in January 2024. With an estimated value of Rp10 trillion, the project aims to connect key areas in Bali and alleviate traffic congestion.


The construction of the Bali LRT will be unique compared to other LRT systems. Due to customary law restrictions that prohibit structures taller than temples (pura), the Bali LRT will be constructed underground. This approach respects the local customs and ensures the preservation of Bali’s cultural heritage.


Moving Forward


In 2024 and beyond, foreign investors should remain vigilant, seek legal counsel, and adapt swiftly to navigate the evolving legal and economic landscape of Bali and Lombok. The region’s immense potential awaits those who combine strategic insights with legal expertise.

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