It is important to know that when you wish to work in Bali you will need a work permit. This means you have to be sponsored by the company you are going to work for. The company will have to APPLY for a KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Sementara) = Temporary Stay Permit Card.
Most people speak of KITAS when they think of the work permit. But actually the work permit is called IMTA (used to be called IKTA) and the KITAS is actually the limited stay permit card. When somebody asks you about KITAS, they will most likely refer to the work permit. The KITAS can be valid for either 6 months or 12 months and needs to be renewed. Previously a KITAS was valid for 12 months, but this has changed for certain type of jobs.
Allowed to stay but not to work
There are many foreigners in Bali and several are working as tourist guides, dive teachers, English teachers, real estate agents, cooks etc without having a work permit. This is an illegal practise. They usually get a social or business visas (allows you to stay on Bali but neither allows you to work) that they extend a few times, leaving to Singapore for a day or two and then coming back.
This practice will slowly but surely not work for much longer as Indonesia and particularly the immigration in Bali, has become stricter with checking travel documents of people who come to Bali often and leave for a couple of days to Singapore or KL to return as tourists again. There is a special task force in Bali with the sole purpose of finding illegal foreign workers. Often they receive alerts from other people.
The rules are actually quite strict and if you are caught working illegally, you will get deported straight away - and pay a nice fine. Sometimes you can pay a certain substantial amount to avoid the hassle and humiliation of a deportation, but still, immigration officers will make sure you leave the country. However, paying for a more graceful way out is also becoming more difficult. The government of Indonesia wants to make sure, that foreigners only hold jobs for which there are no available Indonesian employees.
The idea behind this whole process is, that Indonesia wants to accept only people with higher qualification to work here. Applying as a waiter or even assistant manager is not going to work. One reason being, that this person should not "steal" a job from a local person, and second, that hopefully the Indonesians will learn something valuable. That there is some transfer of knowledge.
Therefore a company that wants to hire a foreigner will have to prove or argue their case, that they need a foreigner to do the job. And in many cases this is possible. There are indeed many expatriates living and working in Bali legally, particularly in the 4 to 5 star hotels. And there is a straightforward procedure for that. The process takes 2-3 months and costs ca. 900 – 1400 US$ depending if you get the 6 or 12 month permit since it includes the work permit tax (DPKK) of 100 US$/month which has to be paid beforehand.
The company must be a legal business entity that is allowed to hire a foreigner. Not any local company will do for that purpose, it depends on their capital for example. A private person who runs a dive shop will not be able to get a KITAS / IMTA for you.
An additional cost which has to be paid is the income tax. A company cannot pay you only 200 US$ in salary and pay you the rest in cash under the table to avoid those taxes. Indonesia is tightening the rules for KITAS and IMTA, the government wants to ensure that foreigners pass on their knowledge to the local people and require a certain basic level of the Indonesian language to be spoken The gateway for getting a work permit in Indonesia is to find the company that will employ you and has all the legal documents to do so.
Working in Indonesia, particularly in Bali can be a dream comes true. But, although the process is quite clear, it is not always as quick and easy as many would like it to be.
Before you start the process, make note of the below:
In addition to the above documents, your sponsor company will need to provide a lot of documents. Once the documents are complete the company’s HR department or an agent will start the application process. The company will have to pay between 1000 and 1200US$ to get a KITAS
There are 4 types of KITAS
1. Work Visa KITAS (index 312)
Standard KITAs and the one that is related to your work permit (IKTA).
2. Family visa KITAS (index 317/318)
Accompanying family members will also need a visa. This means that if for example your wife and two children join you, the company will have to apply for 4 KITAS
Documents required for Family KITAS ( spouse & children)
a. Color Scan of Passport ( should include data pages & all pages with a stamp )
b. Certificate of Marriage (in English or Bahasa Indonesia)
c. Certificate of Birth (in English or Bahasa indonesia)
d. Photo size 3x4cm, 4x6cm each size 4pcs with red background
3. KITAS for students (index 316)
4. Retirement Visa KITAS (index 319)
Why to get a KITAS?
First and foremost, without it you won't get a work permit. Plus there are actually several additional perks when holding a KITAS. Often you get discounts in restaurants, or attraction parks (mainly in Jakarta or Bali). Hospitals also often have a lower price lists for KITAS holders.
You need a KITAS to apply for your Indonesian driving license. If you want to enrol your kids into an international school they also usually check whether the child has a KITAS or not.
In some cases, after holding a KITAS for 5 years, one could apply for a KITAP which allows you to stay for 5 years with unlimited extensions.
* The above information is deemed accurate at the time of publication but can change without notice. Please check with your embassy or agent.