No work visa? Then face the music

Behave or go home: Visitors must follow immigration laws or face being sent home. — Bloomberg

Thinking of running an in-person workshop, organising an event or spending weeks working from a cafe during a Bali getaway? You risk being sent back home, as Indonesian authorities crack down on foreign visitors breaking immigration laws.

Foreigners working from the popular Indonesian tourist destination must hold proper visas, and authorities have emphasised how they will not tolerate those who flout the rules, amid recent news of travellers misbehaving on the island.

“We will take firm action. There have been those who have been deported,” Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies Sandiaga Uno said on May 29.

“Repeat offenders will be given sanctions and will not be allowed to visit Indonesia for several years.”

Bali has been experiencing a post-pandemic tourist boom. Authorities said that in the first quarter of 2024, some 1.3 million people visited the island, an increase of about 32 per cent compared to the same period last year.

But reports of reckless, rowdy and disrespectful foreigners on the island have also increased, alongside those outrightly breaking the law or working without the necessary permits.

Indonesia offers a variety of visas for those keen to work in the country, including temporary resident permits, visas for investors, and a remote worker visa that is valid for a year.

In May, the authorities raided a suspected drug lab in a villa in the Canggu district, that reportedly earned around four billion rupiah (RM1.17mil) in six months supplying drugs across the island.

Two Ukrainians, a Russian, and an Indonesian were arrested for running the lab that police alleged produced drugs including cocaine and hydroponic marijuana.

A month earlier, two producers of a reality show featuring South Korean celebrities, including Hyoyeon from Girls’ Generation and Dita Karang from Secret Number, were deported by the Bali Immigration Office for unauthorised filming and for misusing their stay permit.

Deportation figures have risen significantly. Some 340 foreigners were sent back to their home countries in 2023, a marked increase from the 188 in 2022.

In the first quarter of 2024 alone, 37 foreigners were deported and 27 others detained. — The Straits Times/ANN

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