As an expat living and working in Bali, I can provide some insight into the matter of foreigners working legally on this beautiful island.

The short answer is yes, foreigners can work in Bali, but there are specific conditions and requirements that must be met.

Indonesia has strict regulations when it comes to employing foreigners. To legally work in Bali or anywhere in Indonesia, a foreigner must obtain a valid work permit, also known as an IMTA (Izin Mempekerjakan Tenaga Kerja Asing), and a limited stay visa, known as a KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas). Both the work permit and the KITAS are typically sponsored by the foreigner’s employer.

Working in Bali as a Foreigner

The Indonesian government has outlined certain positions that are open to foreign workers, mainly in industries where there is a lack of local expertise or in roles that provide training and knowledge transfer to local employees. That being said, there are restrictions on specific job sectors that are reserved for Indonesian nationals, such as human resources, legal, and certain hospitality roles.

Bali Dojo, digital nomads working in Bali

Additionally, employers must demonstrate that they have made efforts to hire local talent before sponsoring a foreign employee. They must also commit to providing training and development opportunities for their Indonesian staff.

In summary, while it is possible for foreigners to legally work in Bali, they must meet strict requirements, including obtaining a work permit and a KITAS visa, and securing a job in a sector where foreign expertise is needed. As an expat, it’s essential to ensure you have the proper documentation and follow all legal requirements to avoid any issues during your time in Bali.

It’s worth noting that the Bali government / immigration takes foreigners working here illegally very seriously, perhaps more than most cities in the world. It’s very actively and efficiently enforced. These illegal foreign workers are constantly deported, and those are just the ones we hear about on social media.

How to work in Bali as a Foreigner - Co-Working Space in Canggu

How to Work in Bali as a Foriegner

To obtain a work permit (IMTA) and a limited stay visa (KITAS) in Bali, you will need to go through a series of steps, which are typically facilitated by your employer or a visa agent. Here’s an overview of the process:

Secure a Job Offer: First, you’ll need to have a job offer from an Indonesian company or a foreign company with a legal entity in Indonesia. The employer should be willing to sponsor your work permit and KITAS.

Obtain a RPTKA: Your employer will need to obtain a Ratification of Expatriate Placement Plan (RPTKA) from the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower. This document is a prerequisite for the work permit and essentially confirms that the employer is allowed to hire a foreign worker for the specific position.

Apply for an IMTA (Work Permit): Once the RPTKA is approved, your employer can apply for your work permit (IMTA) from the Ministry of Manpower. They must provide documentation proving your qualifications and the necessity of your expertise for the position. This process may take several weeks.

Apply for a Telex Visa: After obtaining the IMTA, your employer will apply for a telex visa at the Directorate General of Immigration. This telex visa serves as an approval notice and will be sent to the Indonesian embassy or consulate in your home country or the country where you are currently residing.

Obtain a VITAS (Limited Stay Visa): Once the telex visa is approved, you will need to go to the Indonesian embassy or consulate specified in the telex visa approval to obtain a VITAS (limited stay visa). You’ll need to submit your passport, telex visa approval, and any other required documents. The VITAS will be converted to a KITAS once you arrive in Indonesia.

Enter Indonesia and convert VITAS to KITAS: After obtaining your VITAS, you can enter Indonesia. Within 30 days of arrival, you must visit the local immigration office to convert your VITAS into a KITAS (limited stay permit card). You’ll need to provide your passport, VITAS, and other required documents, such as your IMTA and proof of domicile. The immigration office will issue your KITAS, which is usually valid for one year and can be extended as needed, depending on the terms of your employment.

Apply for Other Mandatory Permits: Foreign workers may also need to apply for other permits, such as a police registration certificate (STM) and a civil registration certificate (SKTT). Your employer or visa agent can guide you through this process.

While the process of obtaining a work permit and KITAS can be time-consuming and complex, your employer or a professional visa agent can help facilitate the process and ensure you have the necessary documentation to legally work and reside in Bali.

Dojo Co-working in Bali

How to Find Work in Bali

Finding a job in Bali as a foreigner can be challenging, but with the right approach and resources, it is possible. Here are some strategies and platforms to help you find employment opportunities in Bali:

Online Job Portals: There are various job portals where you can search for job openings in Bali and across Indonesia. Some popular platforms include JobStreet, JobsDB, and Glassdoor. You can also explore Bali-specific job websites like Bali Advertiser and Bali Jobs.

Company Websites: If you’re interested in working for a specific company in Bali, visit their website to explore their career section and check for job openings. You can also send a speculative application expressing your interest in working with them.

Local Newspapers and Magazines: Check local newspapers and magazines in Bali for job advertisements. The Jakarta Post and The Bali Times are examples of English-language newspapers that may have job listings.

Volunteer or Intern: Volunteering or interning in Bali can help you gain local experience, expand your network, and possibly lead to a paid job opportunity. Many NGOs and companies offer volunteer or internship positions for foreigners.

Social Media and Networking: LinkedIn is a valuable platform for connecting with professionals in your industry and discovering job opportunities in Bali. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and highlights your skills and expertise. Additionally, join Facebook groups or online forums dedicated to expats or job seekers in Bali, as these communities can provide valuable insights and job leads.

Attend Events and Conferences: Participate in industry-related events, workshops, and conferences in Bali to network with professionals in your field. This can help you make valuable connections and learn about job opportunities.

Recruitment Agencies: Some foreign job seekers use recruitment agencies that specialize in placing expats in positions across Indonesia, including Bali. These agencies can help match your skills and experience with suitable job openings.

Personal Network: Reach out to your personal and professional network to inform them that you’re seeking employment in Bali. They may be able to provide referrals or share job leads.

SurfWG workin on the beach with foreigner in Bali

Remember that finding a job in Bali may take time, and patience is crucial. Ensure that your CV and cover letter are tailored to each job application, highlighting your skills and experiences relevant to the position. Make sure you have the required qualifications and meet the criteria for obtaining a work permit and KITAS, as this will make your job search more successful.


The Bali Guide