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Re-locating family to Bali & working via internet

Hi,
I am considering moving to Bali for a couple of years or so with my wife and 2 children aged 7 & 8.

I am an IT professional & can work remotely via the internet running systems for the New Zealand company I currently work for.

I have also read many contradictory reports of internet connectivity in Bali - especially for accessing anything outside Indonesia.
As my work depends on remotely accessing New Zealand servers over a VPN a stable connection with reasonable speed is essential - is this a reality in Bali?
Can you please advise if there are specific areas with better connectivity than others, and reliability of internet connection, bandwidth and power.

We also will be looking to live near an international school for the children - there appear to be a number of good options, although many look very expensive...

Then there's the visa issue... any recommendations for good agencies to sort out KITAS or other suitable visa for us to live in Bali for several years?

Also  any recommendations/gotchas for leasing a property and good agencies to work through?

Many thanks

Start with the internet, and the news is sort of good .. ish.

The internet in Indonesia is very much pot luck, some places being well served, whilst others have internet that would have been normal 20 years ago in the UK.
The other notable point is service varies a lot depending on where you are, even withing any given town.
What works well on one street might very well die a death a very short distance away.
If you find a system that works well where you are, grab it. The landline systems tend to be the most reliable and they all have unlimited packages now, but there are also some very good mobile networks, but most having data quotas to contend with.

Positive note - Services are getting better by the day in Indonesia.

Have a possibility, but I've never used them so I can't comment on their stability.
http://www.biznethome.net/en/service/biznet-home-combo/

richparkie :

I am an IT professional & can work remotely via the internet running systems for the New Zealand company I currently work for.

As you will be working in Bali, this strictly requires a work permit and all the messing around that entails, but the law here is what officials say it is, and that usually means immigration officials when it comes to something like this.
Be honest and open when dealing with immigration, telling them exactly what you intend to do.
They're most likely to tell you to go ahead but keep your mouth closed as to what you do.
Labour laws here are designed to protect Bali's residents from people taking their jobs, but you won't be doing that and you will be spending cash in the local economy - something good for Bali and the officials know it.

Thanks for the replies Fred - appreciated

richparkie :

We also will be looking to live near an international school for the children - there appear to be a number of good options, although many look very expensive...

There are many top quality international schools all over Indonesia, but most tend to be a little pricey.
Many national+ schools in Indonesia are taking up IGCSE courses from Cambridge, and these tend to be a lot cheaper but still operate mostly in English.
They don't have swimming pools and big sports fields, but the fees are far lower.

A quick google or few will find them, or you can speak to Cambridge.

http://www.cie.org.uk/i-want-to/find-a- … ge-school/

richparkie :

Also  any recommendations/gotchas for leasing a property and good agencies to work through?

Agencies tend to charge agency fees, and try to get as much cash as possible because they get a greater commission.
Find the area first, selected because it's close to the right school and has good internet, then take a walk around looking for "Disewa" or "kontaktan" in the window.
Hand written signs or small banners put you directly in touch with the owner, thus skipping the agent's fees.
Other thing - get an Indonesian to make the calls so you don't get the foreigner price.
Rental is usually by the year, but many want two years with a discounted price.

Roy's topic might be worth a read

http://www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=292919

"Might be worth a read." 

Yo mate, I love you too!   :lol:

Some perspective by a 17 year veteran of 24/7 living on Bali…and a father of three boys born, still being raised here…and making my living via the internet. 

First off…good local visa agents.  There are a number listed via a Google search.  Shop around and price compare.  Personally, I’ve always used PT Bali Ide, now called Bali Ide Consulting.  For any sort of residency visa, you will need a sponsor, and they are qualified to do that for you.  You’ll be having fours KITAS visas…so be sure to negotiate for a “family discount” regarding their fees. 

International schools:   The majority of the best ones are to be found in the southern regions of Bali.  The best is the Green School, but it is very expensive.  In and around Denpasar and Sanur, etc. there are a number of good international schools, some of them specializing in the Australian system.  Again, shop around.

Internet connections:  Best and most reliable in the southern areas of Bali.  Once above Denpasar, you can count on somewhat less reliability and most assuredly, slower speeds. 

Leasing property:  The best way here in Bali to find a great property is by word of mouth, and almost endless looking.  I would not suggest that you contract for a place before moving here.  Spend your first couple or three months in a decent small hotel, and look, look, look.  With that in mind, networking with other expats is essential.  Also, be sure to constantly check the bi monthly published issues of  The Bali Advertiser.  It’s free and can be found all over in stores, shops and restaurants…and it’s also online. 

Anyway, those are just a few answers to your questions. 

BTW, Bali is a GREAT place to raise kids!

Thanks guys - really appreciate your replies, really useful info in there.

Have pretty much got the sign off from my work - they have some concerns around latency and reliability of internet & power, I'm sending emails to some ISPs now in the hope of getting some stats.

From what I'd been seeing investigating schools & decent connectivity I was thinking around Sanur or maybe around Seminyak, Kerobokan, Canggu area.

Any recommendations for a good hotel to stay in initially while establishing ourselves?

Thanks

If your company is as viable as you convey, then wouldn't they be willing for you to try it out...without a full commitment of moving your entire family here to Bali?

If the executives of your company have a lick of common sense...this is exactly what they would do...pay for you to come over, spend a month or two, learn, and figure out if a total commitment makes sense.

They don't want to pay for it, would much rather I kept working out of the datacentre with the rest of the techies.
However, they don't want to loose me so are willing to accomodate me working remotely.
Happy to use this to my advantage for a lifestyle change for the whole family.
Also considering Vanuatu after having stayed with expat friends there. Lovely but expensive and Bali has much more going on.

Hi we are a Kiwi family based in Bali with 2 children 6 & 7 years. We are into our 2nd year now and like it very much. In regards to KITAS you can only get this if you are employed by an Indonesian business or you have PTA or PMA business of your own. (PTA & PMA are quite expensive to start in Bali) Your only other option is a SOSIAL visa which gives you 60 days in Bali and 4 extensions so in total 6mths, you also need a Balinese sponser for this visa. Just remember you cant work in Bali, you cant even volunteer or its instant deportation, you will be able to do IT for for NZ based business tho, I have a business in Australia and work from online :) Your Sosial will cost approximately $75 each for the first 60 days and then $75 each per month for your extensions. You need to leave the country and reapply for a sosial after 6mths, you can go to Singapore and it takes about 3-5 days or you can do express in one day which is approximately NZD$195 each plus airfares. It can be quite costly. In regards to schools, yes international schools are very expensive the same as sending them to private schools in NZ or Australia but there are a lot of expat kids home schooled, our children are home schooled along with 25 other expat kids and its about $270 per child per month there are very few of these options tho and some that aren't that great and just in it for the money.  Internet varies, we are in Seminyak/Kerobokan and have fibre optic so its great but there are some problem areas but then again I think it depends on what your rental property has to offer, Try Bali Expats for a Visa agent, one of the larger and more professional. . The cost of living is cheap but then there are many other hidden expenses, traffic is a bitch but we do have a car and we do ride scooters to get from A to B quickly.  Overall our experience here has been great and we do love the simplicity of this lifestyle and the freedom that comes with it :)

“In regards to KITAS you can only get this if you are employed by an Indonesian business or you have PTA or PMA business of your own.”

That is not correct.  A KITAS is a residency visa…and it has nothing to do with work, or non work.  The IMTA, or work permit, is what you were thinking about. 

A KITAS can be obtained by way of any licensed visa agent…who will also act as the sponsor for that visa.

“…you cant even volunteer or its instant deportation…”

That is also incorrect.  Foreigners can perform unpaid volunteer work here on any visa so long as the organization is a licensed Yayasan. 

Not trying to nit pick here…just trying to keep the information truthful and accurate.

Thats not correct....what kind of license is that ?

Show us the license where an agent can act officially as your sponsor to get a stay permit (KITAS)

If it is so easy....no point to apply for a retirement visa for example which is binding you to the few really lisenced agents....

Volunteering is a grey zone.....there is in fact no visa for it. Even unpaid you are taking a job what a local can do (where he/she can earn some money)

happyhour :

Volunteering is a grey zone.....there is in fact no visa for it. Even unpaid you are taking a job what a local can do (where he/she can earn some money)

Gray it can be, but it's legal as long as immigration and the cops say it's legal.
The trick is honesty with immigration, telling them exactly what you want to do and see if they say it's okay to go ahead.

So no problem to get something in writing from Police and Immigration that you can volunteer on any visa right ?

If so, I am glad to hear that because I so far can not provide a proof if I get asked....

happyhour :

So no problem to get something in writing from Police and Immigration that you can volunteer on any visa right ?

If so, I am glad to hear that because I so far can not provide a proof if I get asked....

Sarcasm is pointless, except to divert from reality in some pointless attempt to put forward an unrealistic and incorrect take on life and/or attempt to antagonise someone.

Assuming you have walked around with your eyes open in Indonesia, you'll know exactly how the system works in reality, regardless of what the law actually says.
I've volunteered at a lot of schools without the slightest problem and with the full knowledge and blessing of immigration and the police. I can't recall the number of times a cop or immigration officer has asked me to visit their kids' school, totally illegally in law, but who the hell is going to cause you problems when the people who would arrest you are the ones asking you to do them a favour?

Sarcasm Vs. reality, I'll stick with reality, but thanks for the comment.

One thing is important out of this smoke, make sure immigration are informed - If they don't want you to do it, they'll just tell you.

Again Fred, so you also saying volunteering on any visa is fine ?

No problem if you tell one Immigration officer your good intention and he/she is saying all fine ?

The same person for sure will not be around if there is a sidak or will confirm he/she said so before.

However, we should not argue further here in this respect. You have your point of view ( and own experience) so do I have.....

happyhour :

Again Fred, so you also saying volunteering on any visa is fine ?

No, you made that up.

Well....I never said so nor I made it up. Just asking if you agree if volunteering on any visa is OK .

There is no need to argue. Everyone got different experience. Do you both lived in Bali ever? Bali is different to other Indonesian cities.

saintjean :

There is no need to argue. Everyone got different experience. Do you both lived in Bali ever? Bali is different to other Indonesian cities.

You're absolutely correct, Bali is very different and has very different issues to contend with.

Some have disputed that, but Roy will confirm it as fact.

No worries, we will not argue anylonger....

If Roy confirms as fact then it is fact?

saintjean :

If Roy confirms as fact then it is fact?

No, but he's very well informed and well connected so he's usually 100% on Bali issues.

Ask him check with Head of Law and Human Rights Department.

"Ask him check with Head of Law and Human Rights Department."

If by him you mean me, I already have.  He personally signed the citizenship papers for my three sons right here in Bali.

Roy, you may got documents you need for your kids but still.....there is no agent who can sponsor a stay permit (KITAS)

If yes please provide to me a copy of the license....thats what I still need besides all other licenses i do have

When I say “license” I am referring to the license of the sponsoring visa agent.  If you have a visa agent acting as your sponsor, ask them for a copy of their license.

Thats what i said before.....if there is a an agent who can do so (having a license to sponsor a KITAS) then please get a copy of the same (document).....i always like to learn and to improve my/our service but this thing is toatally new to me !!

Where in Indonesia are you located?

Thanks all for your replies - most appreciated.
I am having real trouble getting replies from immigration consultants  (including those recommended)  and the ISPs in Bali to the queries I've sent off trying to find an agency that can assist with visas to suit and ISPs to give some stats for reliability of there service and latency to New Zealand

Anyone got some good recommendations?
Can you also advise, if you have good, reliable  internet connection, who it is with, where you are located & latency to NZ - i.e. ping www.revera.co.nz and let me know the results  :)

Thanks

Hi everybody,

Please note that i have removed some posts from this thread.

Thanks,

Priscilla

Hi all,

My work has given me the green light to work remotely, am getting visa requirements lined up so looking good.

Now just need to pack up our lives here & re-locate the family....

We're probably going to rent a fully or semi furnished villa for a couple of years - any recommendations on what we should send over and/or could bring over without getting pinged for large import duties and/or bribes?

I've lived abroad before  - setting up from scratch and then when we returned we sent alot of stuff back - easier than buying all again..

Cheers

Hi Tasha, I'm Richards wife, Lisa, just joined Expat.com and wanted to thank you for your information which is really helpful (altho to be honest everyone has been really helpful on this site).   

I've been looking into schools and are really surprised by the high prices.  We are interested in your home schooling option and wonder if there may be capacity to take on our children at some stage next year?  They are 7 (will start year 3 in Feb) and 8 (will start year 5 in Feb).  We are hoping to arrive in Feb. 

Sorting out visas has been a hassle and we aren't there yet.  We contacted Bali Expat services on your recommendation but they suggested we get a business visa (even tho Richards job will be in NZ still and working remotely).  We then phoned the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington who said we should be able to do it on a tourist visa (2 month initially for $80 each then reapply in Bali to the embassy for extentions every month $35 each up to 6 months then do a visa run outside of Indonesia and start again).  We put that to Bali Expats but they didn't get back to us, maybe no money in it for them??  Your social visa seems to make sense, do you tell immigration that you are working (albeit in an Australian job) or just tell them you are living and not working?

thanks
Lisa

Not sure about what to tell immigration but I am sure others will give good advice. However with a tourist visa the trips to the immigration department maybe less and the trips out of the country more.
Arrive on a 60 day via and then find out how many times you can extend and then plan to fly out to Singapore for the weekend or somewhere and apply for another 60 day but this may not be good for schooling your children.
I would suggest that once in Bali you look for agent and try to organize something better.

And yes schools are expensive even more so for expats.

Roy and saintjean are the best people here to ask for Bali however for immigration advice the embassy is the best bet. Also contact the NZ embassy in Jakarta and ask the same questions and see if they responses address the same.

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