The labour market in Bali

labour market
Updated 2022-09-20 23:09

With its idyllic beaches, lush mountain ranges and charming smiles, it's impossible not to fall in  love with Bali. If you've decided to move to the Island of the Gods to find a job, here's some information that will help you in your quest for work as a foreigner.

Good to know:

As an expatriate, you will need to be patient during your job search in Bali, as companies must sponsor their foreign employees to obtain the appropriate visa. This process is complex and costly.

The job market in Bali

Indonesia is a developing country that has gradually established itself as one of the major economic powers in Southeast Asia. With a population of over 264 M people, the country has a relatively low unemployment rate. Prior to the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 epidemic in Indonesia, this figure had been falling significantly each year. Due to the economic crisis, the unemployment rate has risen a little but remains relatively very low (5.83% in the first quarter of 2022).

As for the Balinese without a job, they are usually competent university graduates who could not find work. And naturally, in order to protect its own population, Indonesian labor law clearly states that it is forbidden for companies, whether foreign or local, to hire expatriates for work that could be done by an Indonesian citizen. A document explaining why an expatriate was preferred to an Indonesian is required for any company hiring a foreigner in Indonesia.

Working as an expatriate in Bali

The process of finding a job as a foreigner in Bali can be weary and complicated. For example, it is mandatory for any foreigner wishing to work in Bali to apply for and obtain a work permit. Without it, working becomes illegal and punishable by a heavy fine and deportation.

The company wishing to sponsor a potential foreign employee must meet certain criteria:

  • It must be a legal business entity in Indonesia,
  • If it is a local company, it must meet specific capital requirements in order to sponsor,
  • It must also prove that the local workforce is not suitable for the proposed position

Regarding the costs of such a procedure, the employer must:

  • Apply for a temporary residence permit (KITAS) for IDR 8 million. This permit is valid for 6 or 12 months, so it must be renewed every year,
  • Apply for a work permit (IMTA), also at a cost.

What jobs are available for expatriates in Bali?

While it is difficult for foreigners to find a job in Bali, it is not impossible.


Indonesian law states that foreigners working in the country must be considered "experts" in their field. This implies 5 years or more of work experience in their respective field.

If you are a new graduate and a foreigner, you will not be allowed to join a company, except if you are a native speaker teaching English. This is the path taken by many young, inexperienced expatriates, despite the low wages in this sector.

If you have the necessary experience and want to make the most of your chances, you should look into the hospitality sector and, more specifically, into management positions. In fact, most expatriates who work in Bali hold management positions (executive chef or marketing manager, etc.) in multinational companies or the hotel sector.

As for other jobs, such as waiters or other small "jobs" for a meager living, this is normally impossible, but you can still find a good number of expatriates doing such jobs in Bali. Some are illegal, and others have found ways to circumvent the law. Generally, the authorities are not very careful about such activities, but it depends on the case, and the risks are significant. It is best to make sure that everything is in order on your side to avoid any problems.

Wages in Bali

Salaries vary depending on the industry. An expatriate working in a leading industry such as Oil and Gas Company can earn between IDR 50 million (USD 3,750) and IDR 100 million (USD 7,500) per month; otherwise, one should expect average salaries to range between IDR 10 million and IDR 38 million (IDR 720 to 2,600).

An executive chef or hotel manager can earn a salary of around 3,000 USD to 5,000 USD per month. However, finding a job in this sector can be time consuming due to the sheer competition. The best way to work and live in Bali is to set up your own business in Indonesia, through which you can not only sponsor yourself for a work visa while earning a living in Bali, but also buy real estate on the island.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.