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Indonesia Considers Dual Citizenship to Lure Skilled Workers



Indonesia is exploring a significant policy change to attract highly skilled professionals back to the country. The government is considering offering dual citizenship to people of Indonesian descent, a move that could address the nation’s growing talent drain.

Current Law and Brain Drain Challenges

Currently, Indonesian law does not recognize dual citizenship for adults. Children with dual citizenship must choose one nationality by the age of 18. This regulation has contributed to a phenomenon known as “brain drain,” where talented Indonesians seek opportunities abroad with better career prospects and higher salaries.


Government’s New Strategy

Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Pandjaitan, recently announced the government’s plan to extend dual citizenship to former Indonesian citizens living overseas.

Specific details haven’t been released yet, but the initiative aims to strengthen ties with the Indonesian diaspora and encourage skilled professionals to return and contribute to the nation’s development.

Also Read: Indonesia Introduces New 5-Year Multiple-Entry Visas for Tourism and Business!


The Need for a Skilled Workforce

Indonesia’s push for dual citizenship is driven by a pressing need for a skilled workforce. The country has ambitious goals, targeting nearly 3,000 job-ready developers by 2029 and establishing an artificial intelligence centre in Bali. To achieve these objectives, attracting talent with international experience is crucial.

Data on Talent Outflow

The urgency of the situation is further highlighted by data from the Directorate General of Immigration. Between 2019 and 2022, nearly 4,000 Indonesians opted for Singaporean citizenship.

Additionally, reports suggest that as many as 1,000 Indonesian students aged 25-35 pursue Singaporean citizenship annually, seeking better employment opportunities.


Past Controversy and Future Steps

The issue of dual citizenship has a history of sparking debate in Indonesia. In 2016, President Joko Widodo removed a newly appointed minister after it was revealed he held both US and Indonesian passports. The upcoming policy will need careful consideration to ensure its effectiveness and avoid past controversies.

Also Read: Indonesia Proposes Free Visas for Travellers from 20 Countries

Looking Ahead

Indonesia’s potential shift towards dual citizenship represents a significant development. If implemented effectively, this policy change could be a game-changer in attracting skilled Indonesians back home, boosting the nation’s economic growth and innovation.


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