There are several facets to this issue. First, there is the concern that digital nomads are using real estate designated for tourist accommodations as their official workplaces, which violates the intended purpose of these premises.
In addition, there is the issue that digital nomads may be using a tourist or socio-cultural visa to engage in business activities that violate the terms of their residency permit.
ASITA proposes that certain foreign individuals are leading, managing, or facilitating tours and retreats or arranging travel experiences on behalf of other travelers for personal profit or benefit.
Indonesian legislation explicitly states that only very specific activities, such as attending meetings, can be done on the visa on arrival or sociocultural visa, and that anyone in the country on a tourist or sociocultural visa cannot do income-generating work.
ASITA representatives met with the National Police’s public relations team to discuss their concerns and call for further action against foreigners who violate the law.
“There are also tourist agents from foreigners who use their boarding houses as offices where they work so that these unsuitable permits and locations can be more regulated, because we ourselves, who are official and have permits in accordance with the regulations in Bali, feel disturbed,” the Chairman of ASITA Bali told reporters.
In addition, ASITA wants local tour operators and travel agents who operate from home in a similar manner to be targeted by authorities. These tour operators should first apply for the necessary business permits and licenses.
Police have pledged to work with ASITA Bali to impose sanctions on tourism and travel agencies that do not have the required licenses, according to Police Commissioner Pol Harry Sindu Nugroho.
“We will also collaborate with Bali Immigration so that later foreign nationals (WNA) who create problems by becoming fake agents will receive action, we will give warnings and sanctions until the action is violated in accordance with immigration law,” he said.
This joint effort between the Bali Police and ASITA is not an indiscriminate campaign against foreigners who work online while visiting Bali, or against digital nomads.
This is a targeted effort to put into practice regulations that will help prevent fraudulent travel companies, protect the livelihood of Balinese citizens, and ensure that tour operators act legally.