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Keeping an Eye on Bali's Guest Workers

Chairman of Bali Tourism Board Calls For Closer Scrutiny on Illegal Foreign Workers in Bali.

(11/13/2010) The chairman of the Bali Tourism Board (BTB), Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya, told Bisnis Bali on Monday, November 8, 2010, that he has called on immigration authorities to exercise stricter control on foreign visitors in Bali to reduce the large number of illegal workers on the island. Wijaya wants immigration officers to regularly check all foreigners working in Bali.

Wijaya want immigration authorities to check the validity of all foreigners working in Bali, including those staying ion visitor visas and social-cultural visas who may, in fact, be working illegally. Illegal workers, according to Wijaya, can only be controlled through period sweeps by immigration officers.

Wijaya wants immigration officials to also periodically check hotels who may be illegally employing foreigners.

Wijaya admitted that hotels generally obey the law and obtain the required permits for the foreign workers they employ.

By ensuring the legality of foreign workers, the government can guarantee that qualified people are providing needed training to local workers and that guest workers are paying applicable taxes.

Similarly, Wijaya wants immigration authorities to also check shops, travel agencies and other enterprises that may be employing foreigners illegally. He cited recent complaints from Bali's the association of registered tour guides who claim foreigners are employed illegally as tour guides, The BTB chairman is calling for a coordinated effort between immigration and tourism officials to arrest those working illegally as tour guides.

Wijaya confirmed that new provincial laws are now in place that enable law enforcement action against illegal and unregistered tour operators. In the past, tourism officials have claimed they were thwarted from closing illegal travel operators due to an absence of enabling legislation. Wijaya says that this is no longer the case.