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  • Henrik Olsen

    I was amazed how many other members in Jakarta share the same interests as me. And some of them come from Norway, too !

Employment in Surabaya

Many people working in Surabaya are employed in the retail sector, with Surabaya being a popular shopping destination with a wide range of malls available. However, expats will find there is an array of opportunities available, especially in business. The rise in foreign investment in Surabaya in recent years has opened up many doors for expats considering moving to Surabaya.

Local Economy

The local economy in Surabaya is heavily dependent on retail, but as one of the busiest ports in the south-east Asia region, there are also a lot of exporting businesses in the city.

With its strong geographical advantages, Surabaya is primed as a city with a big economic potential, and expats can make the most of its growth by moving there early.

Many high rise skyscrapers are currently being built in Surabaya, featuring apartments, condominiums, and hotels, in a bid to attract more expats to the area. Foreign investment is likely to see more major construction projects spring up around the city and that is likely to lead to even more opportunities opening up for expats moving to Surabaya.

Job Hunting in Surabaya

The services and retail sectors are two of the most dominant industries in Surabaya, but expats can try their luck with jobs in business, exports, and construction if they are willing to carry out some research. A first source for jobs in Surabaya can be the internet, with job sites such as and including listings for the city. Alternatively, those looking to teach English in Surabaya best refer to TEFL-specialized websites such as Asia Teaching Jobs and, or get in touch with local language schools directly.

Work Permits for Surabaya

Employers are responsible for work permit applications and government approval must be obtained before proceeding to apply for a work permit on the behalf of a foreign worker.

A Manpower Utilization Plan for a Foreign Worker — or Rencana Penempatan Tenaga Kerja Asing — must also be obtained for a work permit to be granted.

Once this has been approved, a VITAS Visa can be applied for by the employer, which leads to a Letter of Recommendation to the Department of Immigration being issued.

The entire process can take up to 30 days and expats moving to Surabaya should go to the regional immigration office within days of arriving in Indonesia to get their temporary residence card (KITAS). Work permits for senior positions held by foreigners can be valid for up to three years and they are also renewable. For all other positions, work permits are valid for one year only, again with the option to renew.

Foreign workers employed in Indonesia also need to pay income tax and therefore they need to register with the Indonesian Tax Office.

Jun 17, 2023, 12:00 PM
12 attendees
Dear Internations Surabayans, You are cordially invited to our Vesak Celebrations at Artap. Lets enjoy Vesak with great pieces of art and greater companies. Sabba satta bhavantu sukhitatta. May all
Let's crack our community catch-up in 2023 by enjoying a new cafe in the heart of Surabaya: Tunjungan, where many historical moments happened. We could also take a walk along Tunjungan Street afterw
Sep 24, 2022, 1:30 PM
9 attendees
Let's celebrate InterNations' 15th Anniversary by getting to know each other and playing games. We have prepared some special gift for the winning team. That'd be great if you could bring some drinks
Jun 4, 2022, 6:00 AM
9 attendees
Miss us yet? :D This time, we will invite you to our Jubilee High Tea a la Surabaya. Don't forget to bring your picnic blankets and British themed snacks to share ;) This will be held in Golf Avenu

See all upcoming events for expats in Surabaya

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  • Henrik Olsen

    I was amazed how many other members in Jakarta share the same interests as me. And some of them come from Norway, too !

  • Megan Turner

    It's a really helpful site: Via InterNations, we found an international playgroup for our kids (6 and 8 years old) here in Jakarta.

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