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Illegal Expatriate Workers in Bali

Denpasar Manpower Official Claims Many Foreigners in Bali are Abusing Visa Rules

(7/7/2012) Radar Bali reports that data from the Denpasar Manpower Department shows more than 500 foreign workers are currently registered with their office.

According to the Bali Post, the provincial Manpower office for Bali counted 1,420 foreigners holding work permits in nine regencies and municipalities across the island in 2010, a number that increased to 1,455 in 2011. The provincial data shows most foreign workers were employed in the hotel and restaurant sectors, with workers from Australia, Japan and France dominating the ranks of expatriate workers.

Manpower officials bemoan that fact that many more expatriates working in Bali are misusing the visa facilities extended by the Republic for use by foreign workers and visitors.

The head of the Manpower office for Denpasar, Erwin Suryadharma Sena, who formerly served as the official spokesman for the municipality of Denpasar, complained that many foreigners are working in Bali on visitor’s visas, an act in direct violation of Indonesian law.

He said many illegal foreign workers in Bali are employed in the tourism, fisheries and educational sectors. In the educational sector, Erwin explained, many foreigners are working illegally as foreign language instructors.

According to Erwin, many violations labor rules are not solely due to poor supervision and enforcement by the authorities, but also due, in part, to the lack of qualified workers in Denpasar. He said the urgent need for workers in some sectors of the economy brings many illegal workers to Denpasar from Taiwan, Russia, the U.S.A. and China.

He continued: “In order to supervise illegal workers we have established a joint task force. But, at the same, we need the active participation of the public to help enforce labor laws as the number of staff we have to do this is limited.”