This post was most recently updated on September 14th, 2023
[A collaboration post – all thoughts are my own.]
As one of the world’s tourist destinations, Bali welcomes visitors or foreigners who wish to stay in Bali for a while. Some visitors transition from being tourists to expatriates, transforming the island into both a home and workplace.
Bali has become my home, and I’m proud to call it that!
Bali is considered a dream holiday destination. Many foreigners choose to reside in Bali due to its lower cost of living compared to other Southeast Asian destinations. Furthermore, there are also many foreigners who want to work in Bali for some period of time or permanently.
There is a wide selection of co-working spaces in Bali, which are pretty numerous too, giving you opportunities to work remotely from anywhere across the island. Given Bali’s comparatively low cost of living, most expats in Bali enjoy a comfortable, almost luxurious lifestyle.
However, Bali can be a challenging place for expats to secure employment. Even for individuals with an excellent track record of experience, hiring skilled locals is often more cost-effective. However, if you’re planning to move to Bali and work in Bali as a foreigner, here are some tips for you.
Work in Bali
Anyone who starts working in Bali becomes aware that the largest industry on the island is agriculture. The most important products are rice, coffee, cacao, soybeans, and tobacco, among others. However, as people know, the major contributor to Bali’s income is the tourism sector. Bali became the showcase of Indonesia, making Bali Island one of the wealthiest in the entire archipelago.
While Bali is renowned as a tourism hub, the island still upholds its customs and culture. Therefore, you should not go recklessly to holy sites in Bali. Every time you want to visit a place, consult your guide regarding the local customs and rules. You also have to know what things you shouldn’t do in Bali. Familiarize yourself with the local business etiquette, which may differ from your home country’s.
On the flip side, Bali is blessed with many cozy, open-air cafes for nomads. Freelancers who need the fastest internet connections may want to think about becoming members of one of the numerous co-working spaces. While memberships aren’t inexpensive, the internet connection speeds are unparalleled. As far as I know, a one-day pass can cost as much as $15. I haven’t personally used a co-working space, because, as a blogger and translator, I value the freedom to work in various locations.
Foreigners Work in Bali
Foreign language teacher
I graduated in English Literature and people around me expect me to work as an English teacher. But I don’t want that. Why? I don’t have a passion for teaching English, and I’m not a good public speaker. Rather than doing something that I don’t like, I turn my passion into a career. That’s how I became an English-Indonesian translator and a content writer.
If you’re a native English speaker, it could be an advantage for you to make a small English course for local students. We have many locals here who open their English courses. However, learning English from a native speaker can be exceptionally beneficial, don’t you think?
The other option is to try to register as an English teacher at the Bali International School. I believe the school would really welcome the ex-pat teacher since English is taught to students from elementary school and is one of the important languages in Indonesia. Balinese students are sociable and receptive to foreign cultures, creating a conducive environment for knowledge sharing.
Foreign language teachers are welcome at elementary schools, high schools, and universities, and the pay can vary depending on your own educational credentials. So, remember to take care of your legal matters including your academic evaluation.
Most foreigners like water activities. That’s the thing that I’m very aware of because most foreigners I meet here in Bali always have that ‘water activities’ profile. For those who have the skill to dive, it’s a great choice to be a dive instructor if you have a certification from PADI or SSI instructor courses.
As one of the top diving destinations in the world, it’s no surprise that Bali is home to a lot of dive instructors. If you have a passion for exploring underwater sites, consider local destinations such as Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan, and Tulamben.
Bali is a home for practicing yoga, well-being, and meditation, with almost every resort and yoga center on the island regularly hosting yoga instructors. There are a lot of yoga studios in Bali, especially around Kuta and Ubud. Ubud is considered the spiritual heart of Bali. Teachers enjoy exchanging knowledge with like-minded yogis from all over the world.
Well, as events and festivals are held regularly in Bali, locals like to hire models, photographers, or dancers. With so many bars and nightclubs, singers and musicians are in constant demand. If you’re going to work in Bali as a foreigner, an artist’s visa is now mandatory for individuals in fields such as art, photography, and DJing.
Start your own business
If you don’t want to look for a job, you could try to establish a small business with low startup costs. You could establish your own English course at home, launch your own consulting firm, or open a small cafe near Canggu; there are many opportunities to launch your own business in Bali.
Securing a Work Permit for Bali
Foreigners who dream to work in Bali will find the most opportunities at an international company. It’s important to remember that finding a job in Bali is usually more complicated than having one before you move there, especially as far as visas and work permits are concerned.
Therefore, I highly recommend you start your job search before your moving date. However, that doesn’t mean that working in Bali as a foreigner is impossible. It’s vital to be aware that legally working in Bali can be more difficult than expected. That’s why you either hire an immigration agent or find a confirmed job offer before entering the island.
Those are some tips on how to work in Bali as a foreigner that I think might be useful for you. During your visit to Bali, don’t hesitate to make friends with the locals. You know that most Balinese or Indonesians typically like to socialize. While you have many local friends, the chance to form a relationship will be easier. You might even find job opportunities through them!
Remember that finding a job in Bali or abroad is sometimes difficult. However, try not to give up first and be patient. Some good work may be waiting for you!