Indonesia: Elimination of Recommendation Letter Requirement for Oil and Gas Work Permit Applications

• The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources no longer requires Recommendation Letters for Work Permit applicants in the oil and gas sector. • Applicants can now submit their applications directly with the Ministry of Manpower, which should reduce government processing times.

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Mar 08, 2018

The situation

Following the suspension of recommendation letters for foreign workers in the oil and gas industry last month, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (ESDM) and the Directorate-General of Oil and Gas (MIGAS) has confirmed that it no longer requires nor issues recommendation letters for foreign workers in the oil and gas sector applying for Work Permits.

Recommendation letters come in the form of ‘Recommendation Letter to Apply for a Foreign Manpower Utilization Plan’ (Rekom RPTKA) and ‘Recommendation Letter to Apply for a Work Permit (Rekom IMTA).’


Since MIGAS – a historically stricter agency than the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) – is no longer involved in the above processes, there should be several benefits to foreign workers in the oil and gas industry, including:

  • Shorter processing times.
    • Previously, it took 15-30 business days to obtain a Rekom RPTKA, and 10-20 business days to obtain a Rekom IMTA.
    • These two steps should no longer be required, effectively cutting 25-50 business days from the multi-step oil and gas work authorization process.
  • Other benefits. There will likely be fewer processing delays, less stringent requirements, a lower likelihood of rejections and a more streamlined process.  


This policy change may be a possible response to the Indonesian President’s call to simplify the Work Permit process, and a possible outcome of ESDM’s ensuing internal dialogue with the MOM last month (which led to the temporary suspension of Work Permit applications while discussions were ongoing).

Looking ahead

Since the MOM has not commented on this development, it is possible that the MOM may impose restrictions or additional requirements on oil and gas applications, especially considering that the Indonesian government has traditionally regarded the oil and gas industry as an industry requiring more regulation.

Fragomen will closely monitor developments over the next few weeks and provide further updates once available.

We worked closely with PNB Immigration Law Firm to prepare this alert. This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to

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