The Indonesia–Australia Skills Development Exchange Pilot #2 program explained to business

The Indonesia-Australia Skills Development Exchange Pilot is a scheme developing between Indonesia and Australia to enable short-term exchanges to share skills and practical work place experience in specified sectors. It was introduced under the Indonesian Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA) which came into force in July 2020, and minerals sector veteran Ian Wollff attended the recent socialisation of the second edition of the program to the bilateral business community:

The “Indonesia – Australia Skills Development Exchange Pilot” workshop held in Jakarta on 24 April 2024 was well-attended with about 80 delegates and a large online audience. The breakfast event was hosted by the Indonesia Australia Business Council (IABC), Australia Indonesia Business Council (AIBC) and IA-CEPA ECP Katalis (Katalis) and featured Katalis director Paul Bartlett, IABC president George Marantika, AIBC president Jennifer Mathews, the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower's Raith Rullyani, and the Australian Embassy's Councillor for Economic Trade and Investment Simon Anderson.

SDE Pilot slide presentations were provided by Feitty Pandjaitan of Legal and Regulatory Reform Advisor KATALIS (SDE MOU Flow), and Daniel Simson of FTA Sectoral Services Section, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The fundamentals of the program are to allow tertiary educated level full time workers from companies/entities, that have a presence in both Australia and Indonesia, to be sent to work in the other country for up to 12 months.

Created alongside IA-CEPA, SDE was relaunched in Sep 2023, and to date this scheme has been taken up by only one company that sent 12 professionals to Australia (Bowen Basin coal mines) and no people have been sent from Australia to Indonesia.

Processing of documentation by various government agencies for this special visa program should take only around seven weeks, (assuming all documents are correct).

The relaunched SDE has widened the Special Sector Requirements to now include.

o   Financial & Insurance services, Mining

o   Engineering and related technical services

o   Information media and telecommunication services

o   Tourism and travel related services

o   Creative economy

o   Agri-business and food processing

o   Green economy

o   Other sectors may be considered.

The approved occupation should comply with the ANZSCO Skill Level 1 to 3. The “worker” should comply with local tax and employment regulations, and where these require specific certification, then perhaps the professional may work as an assistant until achieving formal certification. 

There was generous time for questions from audience (present and on-line) to the discussion panel and presenters. These questions included exploring the scope of the program in areas of education and health, plus looking at the nature of associations between Australian and Indonesian business entities. Another raised concerns about certification that may be associated with this specific program. 

PDF digital versions of the slide presentations and the SDE guidebook in English & in Indonesian can be downloaded from 

Watch the full event recording 


Ian Wollff is a veteran principal geologist based in Jakarta. He provides independent observations on the Indonesian minerals sector at LinkedIn .