How to get a job as an expat in Bali
The Indonesian island of Bali is a prime destination for vacationers and anyone hoping to enjoy a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With stunning natural areas to explore and gorgeous beaches to relax on, it might not be the place that comes to mind when you think about working, but the truth is that it’s also a popular destination for expats who want to live and work abroad.
Ready to make Bali your home? To help you get started on this exciting journey, we’ve compiled some helpful information on:
What kinds of jobs are available in Bali?
As a foreigner living in Bali, you have a few options for employment. Here are some areas that you might consider pursuing:
- Tourism: The economy of Bali relies most heavily on tourism, so this is a great place to start your job hunt. As an example, you might be able to find a range of opportunities in hotels, where you can work as a manager or chef.
- Education: As a native English speaker, you might be able to find employment as a teacher of English in Bali. Consider looking for openings in primary schools and high schools, as well as universities and international schools. However, if you don’t want to work in a traditional classroom, you might instead be able to find employment as an instructor in other areas, such as surfing, diving, or yoga, as these are all popular activities, particularly among tourists.
- Construction: Another option for expats is the world of construction, where you might be able to land a job as a project manager or a senior manager. This could give you the opportunity to work on new construction and infrastructure projects throughout Bali.
- Business and IT: You might be able to find opportunities working in a business in Bali, such as a startup IT company.
- Entertainment: If you’re a musician or performer, you might be able to find a job as an entertainer in Bali. That’s because live events, such as festivals, are often held for both locals and tourists.
How to find work as an expat in Bali
Even though finding work as an expat in other parts of the world can be surprisingly easy, this isn’t really the case in Bali.
Employers might be reluctant to cover the costs of getting the permits necessary for hiring expats, so they typically stick with finding locals to employ instead. Therefore, you should be prepared when you begin your job search, as you might encounter some challenges along the way.
Here are a few ways to help boost the odds of landing a great job in Bali:
Because you aren’t likely to find many businesses searching for expats specifically, using your networking skills could help you find work with the help of referrals. You can build your professional network by using online resources like LinkedIn and Facebook, by joining forums, and by attending conferences and events in your field.
Looking through job postings in newspapers, such as The Bali Times, can be a good way to see what jobs you qualify for.
Browsing job boards and setting up job alerts that you can receive via email are others ways to check what work is available in Bali that you qualify for. A couple of examples are Monster and JobsDB.
Contact Businesses Directly
Researching the businesses that call Bali home might yield some opportunities that you can take advantage of. Perhaps you can check their websites for openings, or you might even decide to submit your CV to let them know that you’re hoping to work for them someday.
Looking for work in a specific industry? Refine your strategy so you can increase your odds of successfully landing a job:
Hotels and Restaurants
As mentioned above, tourism is a huge industry in Bali, with many job opportunities in restaurants and hotels. If you happen to already be working for an international hotel business, you might even be able to request a transfer to Bali to secure your employment that way.
If you hope to teach English in Bali, you can use resources like English First to find ESL jobs. Alternatively, you could research international schools that are located in Bali, and then contact them directly about job openings that they have for expats.
Pro tip: You might find it harder to get a job once you’re already in Bali, so it’s wise to start your search before you move there.
What Are the Requirements to Work in Bali?
To hold a job in Bali, you’ll need to get a work permit with the help of an employer that will sponsor you. Bear in mind that being employed without a work permit is illegal.
First, your employer will apply for what’s known as a KITAS, which is basically a temporary stay permit card (usually valid for either 12 months or 6 months, so you might need to renew it). This isn’t your work permit. Instead, the work permit is referred to as the IMTA.
Here’s a basic breakdown of the process of getting your work permit:
The company that plans on hiring you has to not only be a legal business entity in Bali, but also be allowed to hire foreigners. It even has to prove that there aren’t any locals who could successfully fill the role that you’re taking on.
The company that plans on hiring you will need to provide its own set of documents. On top of that, documents that you might need to provide include:
- A copy of your CV
- A copy of your degree
- A copy of your passport
- Proof of health insurance
- A photo of yourself
- A work certificate
With all of the documents collected, the HR department of your employer can begin the application process and pay the appropriate fee to get your KITAS. Remember, you need the KITAS to get your work permit.
It may take a couple of months for everything to be processed, but once it’s all done, you’ll be asked to go to your local Indonesian embassy in order to apply for your work visa. You can’t apply in Indonesia.
Finally, you’ll need to get an NPWP, which is a tax number that you might need to use for things like opening a bank account and getting your driver’s license.
Note: If you don’t already have a job lined up in Bali, you might be able to get in touch with a headhunter, employment agency, or immigration agency that can assist you in your job search, as well as help file all of the paperwork necessary to get your permit.
How to send earnings abroad when working in Bali
As you get used to the cost of living in Bali, you can begin setting aside money for various purposes, such as sending money back home or making purchases internationally. At that point, you’d need to transfer your money abroad, but if you use a bank, you’ll be hit with high margins and fees that can definitely sting.
A smarter way to move your funds internationally from Bali is by using OFX, an online international money transfer service. In addition to saving money on fees, you can rest assured that your money will be moved securely and efficiently. And, on top of that, you can use OFX’s resources, like its market rate alerts and currency charts, to set up your transfers at the most opportune times based on currency conversion rates.
Bali: a beautiful place for expats!
What could be better than calling a beautiful tropical island home, and making a living there while working in a field that you love? That’s what you can get when you move to Bali. With the right preparations, you can have it all, and you could be living the expat life of your dreams before you know it.
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