The exponential growth of technology startups requires quality talent development to ensure success. However, talent development in Indonesia is currently playing catch-up with industry demand, especially for more specialized tech skills and leadership, business and management skills. The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartanto estimated that Indonesia needs 9 million tech talent by 2030 to support its growing digital economy1. Despite the government’s pleas for members of the Indonesian diaspora to return home and drive its digital revolution, many Indonesian tech professionals have opted to stay abroad for reasons such as better working environment and future prospects2.
The Indonesian diaspora has the potential to serve as a pipeline to fill a portion of the country’s tech talent gap, but Indonesia currently does not have a diaspora engagement policy aside from a past bid to record their numbers and map out their areas of potential. The Presidential Regulation No. 76 of 2017 on Facilities for Indonesian Communities Abroad (PR 76/2017) and its implementing regulation the Minister of Foreign Affairs Regulation No. 7 of 2017 on the Issuance and Revocation of the Indonesian Community Card Abroad legally established the ‘Diaspora Card’, which is given to overseas Indonesians who registered themselves with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, either in Jakarta or through their embassies. The Diaspora Card provides diaspora members who are still Indonesian citizens with the ability to open Indonesian bank accounts, own property and participate in business ventures3. However, there is little information on the enabling environment should diaspora Indonesians be interested to return to the country and resettle, nor how returning citizens will be assisted in their transition.
Helping overseas Indonesian tech talent to return and settle in quickly and seamlessly will allow the technology sector to benefit from an influx of talents who are bringing home invaluable experiences and skill sets from their time abroad. Providing better government services for members of the diaspora; building an increased awareness about opportunities in the technology sector through events and programs; facilitating an integrated information about said opportunities; along with offering attractive financial and living incentives for them and their families, need to be at the forefront of the diaspora engagement policy.
For many entrepreneurs, the decision to turn into innovations depends on the ease to adopt technology, trained workforces, and multiple sources of finance. Yet, navigating the complex regulation is a major challenge for most lay business people. To expedite the economic recovery post-pandemic recession, the stakeholders in the ecosystem are urged to formulate the right policy to simplify such challenges.