Many of us have thought about living and working in Bali. The lower cost of living, paradise around every corner and idyllic eternal summer is a major drawcard for many Australians - especially those in retirement.
But what if you're not ready to retire just yet, but you'd like to live (and be able to work) while in Bali?
It is possible. Here are the ways you can make it happens:
1. Get a KITAS (working visa)
If you want to work in Bali you will need a work permit. To get one you'll need to be sponsored by the company you are going to work for. The company will have to apply for a KITAS - Temporary Stay Permit Card - on your behalf. It is illegal to work for any business or privately for yourself in Bali without a KITAS. While the practise is not uncommon, if you are found to be working without one you will be deported, pay a fine and may be subject to an exclusion period. While it may seem 'easy' to get away with going under the radar, there are many cases of foreigners (Australian's included) being found out for this illegal practise.
Indonesia wants only peopler with a higher qualification to work here. Jobs as wait staff, retail manager or otherwise is not a route that will see you earn a KITAS. It's better to look for skilled jobs such as a higher level hotel manager, company executive, doctor, veterinarian, teacher or some other skilled job.
even then it can be a complex and lengthy process to be approved and attestation of documents may be required.
For more information on acquiring a KITAS visit here.
2. Run your Australian business from Bali
If you have an established business in Australia that can be run online, or you work remotely for a company, you will be able to visit Bali on a tourist visa and do your work from a computer. Remote work is somewhat of a legal grey area and it is best to exercise great caution and ensure you abide by Indonesia law while staying in Bali.
You can apply for up to 2 months tourist visa at a time, at which point you will be required to exit the country and may be permitted another 2 months. It is a good idea to get a visa agent who will arrange your visa every 2 months and advise you on what you need to do.
If you do work online or run your own business online, it is important to note that you cannot legally procure work from people in Indonesia - you must deal with your existing off-shore client base only. It is greatly frowned upon by customs and immigration to 'steal' work from Indonesians or those with actual working visas by basing yourself in Bali and finding local clients.
Technically, you will only be enjoying Bali as a tourist, and carrying on your Australian-based workload while there.
This is a very common way to do things, and so long as you play by the rules and do not expect to continually be granted visas - you could be knocked back at any time - then enjoy yourself and beautiful Bali!
3. Do a half/half
It's also quite common for Australians to work a short-term or month-on/month-off style of job in Australia and dart back and forth between Australia and Bali between work. A few months of working in Australia will earn you enough to enjoy many months without working in Bali if you are clever with your income. It's quite common for people to work in areas that are a short and cheap flying distance to Bali such as Darwin and Perth, then spend the rest of their time in Bali.
Remember that document legalisation Australia services may be required if you wish to use your university degree officially in Bali.