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Bali Takes Zero Tolerance Approach To Foreigners Working On Tourist Visas 

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Indonesia’s Minister for Tourism and Creative Economies, Sandiaga Uno, has emphasized to the public that the government will not tolerate foreigners working in Indonesia when they hold only tourist visas.

There are a series of tourism visa options available to foreigners, and none of them permit individuals to work in the country.

Woman works on Laptop in Bali Cafe.jpg

His statements come as Tourism Task Forces and Immigration teams continue to crack down on foreigners behaving badly in Indonesia, especially in Bali.

This bad behavior ranges from not wearing a helmet while driving a motorcycle to conducting work while on a tourist visa to operating full-scale drug networks out of tourism resorts. 

Minister Uno spoke from Medan in North Sumatra on Wednesday, 29th May; he told the audience, “There is no tolerance for that…If there is a violation, the regulations must be enforced. Sanctions must be given, if necessary, deportation.”

He and many others in the political sphere have called for more ‘supervision’ in tourist areas in Bali to help ensure that foreigners do not break the law.

Classic cases where foreigners are working on tourist visas include running retreats, training workshops, content creation and marketing services, and even questionable real estate work. 

In 2023, the Bali Provincial Government created the dedicated Tourism Task Force to follow up on reports of foreigners breaking the conditions of their visas and conducting income-generating or work activities while on tourist or socio-cultural visas.

Some may argue that the tourism visa categories present a grey area when it comes to work since limited business-related activities are permitted. However, these business activities include attending meetings and conferences, giving speeches, and checking in with suppliers for export services, for example.

Minister Uno’s comments also come after the ex-president of Indonesia and current leader of the Democratic Party of Struggle, Megawati Sukarnoputri, publicly criticized the state of the Balinese tourism sector in a scathing speech over the weekend. 

Minister Uno told the audience and press in the media, “Mrs Megawati is the mother of the nation who really cares about Indonesian tourism, not just in Bali. What she cobbles becomes the homework to make national tourism better.”

He did, however, note that of the 11 million tourists who visited Indonesia as a whole in 2023, the number of foreigners who were working illegally or breaking the conditions of their visa was comparatively small. 


Minister Uno added, “This has happened repeatedly, and we have to be more firm in cracking down on naughty tourists, the number of which is actually not that many, very few compared to the total of 11 million tourists.”

He continued, “We will take firm action; there are those who have been deported; there are those who, if this continues, will be given sanctions and cannot visit Indonesia for several years.”


Minister Uno has been under increasing pressure to issue his stance on badly behaved foreigners in Bali after yet another viral incident on social media caught the attention of Bali lovers.

Following the New Moscow saga earlier this month, frustrated Bali-based business owners have been taking to social media to call out illegal behavior, such as foreigners running illegal businesses, working on tourism visas, and even theft. 

In a post on social media, the founder of Wanda House of Jewels, Wanda Ponika, spoke out about the impact ‘naughty’ foreigners had been having in their community.

Ponika wrote “The nation’s assets are starting to be controlled by foreigners, tax increases are being carried out before our eyes, jobs are being fought over. This is colonialism in the modern era.”


Minister Uno refuted the claims that Bali has been colonised both culturally and economically and has noted that in his view all the foreign interest in Bali especially poses an opportunity for growth.

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Ba Cota

Wednesday 5th of June 2024

Russians do what the Oz/EU/US expats don’t want to do anymore: dance the dance. Both RU and RI business habits are based on envelopes passing under the table.

Since quite a few years the traditional bule doesn’t want to play that game anymore. But the Russians don’t mind at all. In fact they love it


Sunday 2nd of June 2024

I am in no way a Russian or Ukrainian apologist. But can we have some honesty?

The vast number of posts seem to centre around memory. Bali isn't what it was back when. The Russians and Ukrainians are just the current whipping boys.

Short memories, it used to be the Chinese;

Take the changes in incoming tourist numbers. Will we in the future start reading whinges and complaints about bloody Indians?

You're naive if you think the Russians are the only ones exploiting, using, and paying backhanders.

Look at reality. Much current and past development is by RI investors. Are we reading 'bloody Javanese'?


Monday 3rd of June 2024

@Shorty, Blame must be directed towards the corrupt officials who profit from anyone who has lots of money. Sovereignty be damned.


Sunday 2nd of June 2024

To all tourists who want to go to Indonesia including Bali, please Don't! Indonesia is one of the worst places for tourists, and its police is corrupted completely! Don't waste your money and don't endanger your life. THAILAND IS ABSOLUTELY BETTER!


Saturday 1st of June 2024

I live here 14 years and have always obeyed the rules although I have permanent residence and my spouse is local, it is not right that Russian and Ukrainian are setting up businesses here. It is also not correct if a foreigner is married to a local and still is not allowed to work, only if he / she can convince the manpower offices that immigration law para. 61 does allow foreigners to work in some sense.


Sunday 2nd of June 2024

@Andrew, the Russian and Ukrainian tourist refugees have circumvent the immigration laws and system. And it is unfair when everyone else follows the rules. Some people may eventually engaged in criminal activities to survive in a foreign country. Indonesia is too accommodating and naive at the same time. Money talks...

J West

Friday 31st of May 2024

I told you it would happen. Russian gangs have become so prevalent and brazen that authorities have been forced to act in their own interests.

Bali is dreaming if they think it isn't a huge problem. I see a lot of denial but this example in Thailand shows you the extent of Russian criminals involvement. Bali, you can't hide your 'Russian-Ukrainian criminal problem' anymore.

Either allow your police to get rich from the captured proceeds of crime or the crime will devour you. The first of you who sees their son or daughter addicted to meth and selling their bodies on a street corner will wish they'd acted.