I am an expat


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Ubudian posted on the thread Seriously looking to retire to Bali on the Bali forum

I totally agree...11.5 million IDR a month is very close to bare bones for an expat.  It can be done...living in a kos, eating at warungs, shopping at pasars, etc. but, you will literally be living hand to mouth. 

One thing is for certain...you will absolutely need to be fluent in Indonesian.  You haven't a chance otherwise. 

You can't change your appearance, so you'll have to overcome "harga bule" (white man's price) and your only chance of that is to be able to at least speak like a local.

Ubudian posted on the thread Experience with Okusi Associates? on the Indonesia forum

Tom, one more thing I just learned from my contact about PT/PMA set ups and work permits/KITAS visas.

From now on the duration of these documents (6 months, 12 months) is going to be tied to the level of foreign investment made in the company.  I don’t have specifics but the example I was given was that with a minimal investment, like 1 billion (IDR) for a PT…those documents will only be issued for 6 month periods…meaning of course that the annual costs for those documents have just doubled for smaller companies. 

“So, is this going to be like the required Bahasa Indonesia requirement” I asked?  No, was the response. 

BTW…I totally agree with your comments about the “usefulness” of a meeting with one’s embassy. 

Cheers Amigo, and may you live in interesting times!   :lol:

Ubudian posted on the thread Experience with Okusi Associates? on the Indonesia forum

"CV's are not able to sponsor foreign workers even you hear otherwise."

That is absolutely 100% totally correct!  We just went through setting up a new business for a Swiss friend and Manpower confirmed this for us in writing.  NO work permits can be sponsored by a CV company.  At one time some years ago, yes, but not now.  Only PT/PMA companies can sponsor work permits and KITAS visas.

Good posts Tom!  Two thumbs up!   :top:

Ubudian posted on the thread Changes in Kitas regulations on the Jakarta forum

"Perhaps in the coming days/weeks things hopefully are clear"

More likely it will simply just go away. 

That's the way things are done here...float a proposed new law or regulation and see what happens.   ;)

Ubudian posted on the thread Changes in Kitas regulations on the Jakarta forum

So, today I heard from a very reliable inside government source that the Indonesian language requirement for a work permit will NOT be implemented "at this time."  The "at this time" wording is generally just a "face saving" measure.

Tom...I'll hold back from saying, "I told you so."   :D

Ubudian posted on the thread Dual citizens on the Indonesia forum

Dependent children of mixed Indonesian/other marriages are given dual citizenship up until age 19.  Otherwise, dual citizenship is not currently allowed for Indonesians. 

This will almost certainly change in the future...but how long is anybody's guess.

Ubudian posted on the thread Australian owning Property in Bali on the Bali forum

Converting to a hak pakai lease will be entirely up to your current nominee.  If he or she is willing, then you and your nominee need to meet with a notaris and see how much it will cost to set up the hak pakai.  You might also think about what incentive might be needed to persuade your nominee to go along with this change.

Good luck!

Ubudian posted on the thread Changes in Kitas regulations on the Jakarta forum

In a nut shell, Jokowi’s government is totally geared for the advancement and prosperity of Indonesian citizens…in all facets.   

Politics being what they are, not all his minister appointments were made exactly as he would have liked, but out of necessity to get the support of certain parties of the DPR.  Doesn’t every democracy work that way?

In the short run, for us expats, some things that come from this change in governance will be onerous, if not downright ridiculous. 

As you suggest Luke, it will be up to each of us to determine if we are into Indonesia for the long run, or just temporarily.

Ubudian posted on the thread Australian owning Property in Bali on the Bali forum

Just a little “heads up” or “hati hati” in Bali, the government is going after nominee arrangements as an illegal way of trying to circumvent tax payments.

In Lombok…who knows (for now).

According to a recent government release, only about 25% of the Indonesian population that should be paying taxes, are paying them.  The new government is "hell bent" on changing that...and for foreigners involved with locals where the local hasn't paid the tax...they are coming to see you...sooner or later.

Ubudian posted on the thread retire chef on the Bali forum


Selamat hari raya Nyepi!

When next in Ubud, stop by the Fly Café on Jalan Raya Lungsiakan (banjar Sanggingan) and introduce yourself to Pak Markus. 

Markus has been the Executive Chef in a number of five star resorts throughout Asia and the Middle East and recently took over the Fly.

Part of his long term strategy is to expand catering activities.

You’ll enjoy meeting him as he knows Indonesia very well having been the past EC at the Banyan Tree Resort in Bintan Island as well as the Shangri-La in Surabaya.

Cheers, and good luck!

Ubudian posted on the thread Top 5 tips to live in Indonesia on the Indonesia forum

“…middle aged men are extremely vulnerable to the sweet talk of cute young Asian women....”

There are a whole lot of other reasons why western men are attracted to Indonesian women besides their beauty and “sweet talk!”  :top:

Ubudian posted on the thread Expat working on the Bali forum

Doc wrote,

“For a regular tourist and not someone trying to abuse the "system" wanting to experience more of Indonesia and spend more money in the country and has to park themselves in one location for a week so they can go back every couple of days to submit another piece of paper only to return again for photos and whatever to come back again to pick up their passport that has been held this whole time WHICH forces the person to stay where they are and cannot change hotels, fly to another destination or whatever!”

That is totally spot on Doc, and in Bali (where tourism is so important) that onerous process of VOA extension has been greatly streamlined, even if the tourist goes about extending on their own, without an agent.

Good luck Fred with your upcoming "visit" to immigration.   ;)

Ubudian posted on the thread Expat working on the Bali forum

So Doc, how much did your friend pay as a bribe to get their VOA extended another month?

Ubudian posted on the thread Top 5 tips to live in Indonesia on the Indonesia forum

One possible reason why there hasn’t yet been any expat response to this thread is the over generalization of the question.

Indonesia is way, way too vast and diverse to come up with any meaningful suggestions that would be appropriate everywhere aside from what common sense would dictate, viz, be polite, respectful…yada, yada, yada.

That said, one “tip” from me that would be applicable regardless of where in Indonesia one is thinking of living would be…

If possible, spend a good amount of time in that desired area before making the final move and commitment.  Obviously this isn’t always possible, as when taking a job here, but whenever possible, this is essential. 

Many areas of Indonesia have an overwhelmingly intoxicating effect on first time visitors.  Bali is just one perfect example.  Another would be the pristine, virgin and pure beach front areas of parts of southern Flores…but there are plenty more. 

It’s very easy, and I can tell endless stories of folks on their first or second visit who have fallen prey to “throwing caution to the wind” and allowed themselves to discard their otherwise keen ability to be objective and reasonable. 

As the old lyrics from the Eagle’s song “Hotel California” go, “this could be heaven (or) this could be hell.”

Ubudian posted on the thread Buying a property in Bali on the Bali forum

Hi Olivia,

Between those two villages it’s basically “six of one, half dozen of the other” or “sama sama.”

Both villages have good reputations in dealing with foreigners, or, at least I can say I haven’t heard of any significant problems from any other expats living in those villages.

The most important thing for you is to establish a very good relationship with the head of whichever village you decide upon.  This is particularly vital since it seems you will be absent most of the time.  And, since your primary objective seems to be investment, you will want to take on as long a lease as possible…a Hak Pakai lease being possible for up to 50 years.

If you decide to build a “modest house” five are is right at the minimal amount to allow for a house temple, small swimming pool, adequate parking and some decent gardens.

Ubudian posted on the thread Hi Indians in Indonesia on the Jakarta forum

Overheard by my wife yesterday at the Pasar Ubud (Ubud market):

"Yes, I am from India."

"Oh, wow, are you in the show Mahabharata?" 

Right now I would say that Indians are the most beloved foreign visitors to both Bali and Java.  It's amazing and the local broadcast TV stations are full of most anything Bollywood.

Ubudian posted on the thread Expat working on the Bali forum

If that sort of extortion was going on with you today I think you could easily find a whole new ally, that being the press which is having a field day with anti-corruption cases. 

Of course here in Bali most all of us who have been around a long while have had one sort of "dealing" with either immigration or the police.  Its "code name" in my part of the woods is called "paying dues."  But, while we once either had little other choice than to "play ball" these days we have other resources available, and that includes a far less corrupt immigration and police staff.  I personally don't know any long term expat here who wouldn't agree that things are much better than they used to be.

Ubudian posted on the thread Expat working on the Bali forum

Doc, where and when did this happen?

And, would you now agree that Indonesia is slowly “cleaning up its act” both within the police departments and immigration?

Ubudian posted on the thread Expat working on the Bali forum

Tom, you’re making me laugh over the lengths you’ll go to desperately try to prove your point.

Does this place, Jiwa Damai, sound like a non profit Yayasan or NGO to you?  If so, then explain their room rates:


And that last paragraph you quote from the letter is complete baloney.   

BTW, you're welcome to take on the very same challenge I gave to Fred in post #26.

Ubudian posted on the thread Expat working on the Bali forum

Fred, why don’t you call the US Embassy and ask them if they can recount one single instance where someone was arrested, fined, jailed and deported solely for doing unpaid volunteer work in Bali at a licensed Yayasan or NGO.   

While you’re at it, ask them what type of visa all the Americans who volunteered in Aceh after the tsunami were on.  For a more recent event you can ask the same question regarding Americans who volunteered to assist with the canine inoculations during the rabies epidemic on Bali.

Be sure to ask them to differentiate between cases of selective prosecution and cases where the sole reason was in fact a visa violation, and not the suspicion of illegal activities like pedophilia or drug use. 

You can also contact some various Yayasans and NGO’s and ask them if they obtain KITAS visas for temporary volunteers, and if they also obtain work permits for those volunteers as the article that Tom linked to falsely maintains.  And also ask them if they can recall one instance where a non paid volunteer on a visit visa ran afoul of immigration solely because of their volunteer activities.

I’m still having a very hard time reconciling in my mind why on one hand you’d suggest to someone to keep a low profile while they do illegal free lance teaching (for payment) but on the other hand you dissuade someone who has the honorable intention of doing unpaid volunteer work.   And your reply in post #19 does not offer an explanation.

Ubudian posted on the thread Expat working on the Bali forum

"This one is also inaccurate ?"

Actually yes, there is an error in that as well.  It says, “Penalties for such immigration/visa violations may include a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of Rupiah 25 million.”

The fine is up to $50,000 US dollars, not 25 million rupiah.

“The other way round, where is it stated that foreigners can volunteer (paid or unpaid) on VoA, Tourist Visa ?”

Good grief, I feel like I’m talking to a gecko!   :dumbom:

Nowhere in the law is anything specifically stated about unpaid volunteer work.     

If you’ve been following and reading this whole discussion then you should have already read this from one of my earlier posts:

<<It isn't the law that matters here...rather it's how it's regulated.

There are plenty of examples of this here in Indonesia.  For example, according to the anti pornography law, it is not allowed to wear bikini swim wear even at the beach.  Have you noted any tourists (or locals) in Bali arrested for wearing bikinis? 

Under that same law it is also forbidden to paint nude pictures of women…yet the very best Indonesian artists of nudes are Muslim, and they mostly reside in Java.  None of them have been arrested either.

Laws in Indonesia are purposely written in a vague manner which is subject to interpretation by the regulatory bodies.>>

And by the way, back to that article you linked to, did you read any of the comments that follow the article?

If so then you’ll see that the author of that article herself is not really clear when challenged by others who have been doing volunteer work here in Indonesia.

Tom, I take it as safe for me to assume that you yourself have had no experience working with a licensed Yayasan or NGO here in Indonesia, nor have you been arranging folks from your home countries to come over to volunteer with any such organizations.  I have, and for a long time. 

For one last time, never have I ever encountered or heard of anyone coming into Bali to do unpaid volunteer work at a legitimate organization running afoul of immigration.  Moreover, my wife's uncle who has been an immigration officer here for all the years I've lived here supports what I am saying regarding how this is treated by immigration. 

Are we done now with this discussion?

Ubudian posted on the thread Expat working on the Bali forum

What about it Tom?  Have you never found inaccurate information on the internet before?

This is totally wrong:

"In order to volunteer, you will have to obtain a KITAS. It should be noted that employers have to pay tax to the local Labor Department for employing foreigners. As a result, you must ensure that the organization that you wish to volunteer for is paying this tax because if not, then you will be volunteering illegally."

Yayasans and NGO's DO NOT pay taxes for volunteer workers...PERIOD.  That is absolute rubbish. 

But hey Tom, since you seem totally committed to this view, find me just ONE case where a foreigner who was volunteering at a licensed Yayasan or NGO ran afoul of immigration because of their activities as a volunteer. 

And something else that Fred said, which is also totally wrong:

" the other (volunteering) is long term and/or full time, and at a place of business."

Aside from the fact that a Yayasan or NGO is NOT a place of business, the actual fact is that most volunteer work done here (in Bali) is on a short term basis...measured in weeks up to a few months.  The only long term volunteer work is done by resident expats.