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Permit me to Work?

Bali Immigration Chief Says Catching Illegal Foreign Workers in Bali is Problematic.

(12/4/2010) The Bali immigration office told Bali Post that they encounter substantial difficulties in efforts to overcome the problem of illegal foreign workers in Bali.

The head of the Denpasar immigration office, Hatomi, said: "We have to admit the difficulty of overcoming the problem of foreigners using tourist visas for employment purposes. Immigration frequently received reports of illegal workers, but unless we can catch them actually working it's hard to prove a violation."

Hatomi said that many illegal workers are employed in the tourism sector as employees of hotels, guides and at a number of foreign companies. He cited this situation as a world-wide phenomenon and not-unconnected with Bali's popularity as a leading tourism destination.

Hatomi added, "on the one hand we need them (tourists) to come in great numbers, but not a few of them compete for jobs with local workers."

The Denpasar immigration office oversees five regencies and one municipality. The office has deported 40 foreigners in 2010 for violating immigration rules.

The official number of temporary resident permit holders (KITAS) issued by the Denpasar immigration office through the end of August 2010 totals 5,931 foreigners.

"We will take a strict attitude towards foreigners who break the rules. If they stay in Indonesia with proper documentation their presence here will be protected and safeguarded. On the other hand, if these people come to Indonesia and don't hold legal documentation, we will not only deport them but also process them in accordance with the law," explained Hatomi.

What's Allowed; What's Not

Foreigners taking paid employment in Indonesia must hold a valid work permit issued by the Manpower Department and a temporary-stay-permit (KITAS).

Among the classes of visas being used by illegal workers include:

Tourist Visa - Valid for only 30 days and capable of being extended for another 30 days, no employment of any kind, paid or unpaid, is allowed on a tourist visa.

Social-Cultural Visa - Issued to people visiting relatives/friends; social organizations; exchange visits between educational institutions; undertaking research and attending training programs in Indonesia. These are valid for 60 days, but can be extended upon application to immigration. While some cultural and education activities are contemplated by this class of visa, paid employment for any Indonesian legal entity is not allowed to holders of this class of visa.

Business Visa - available to foreigners visiting Indonesia for normal business activities (including attending a conference/seminar) which does not involve taking up employment or receiving any payments whilst in Indonesia. Valid for a stay of 60 days, business visas can be issued for a single or multiple stays.