January 20, 2021

Living and Working in Bali – Where Kristen Gray Went Wrong

Bali expats were avidly watching the furore around Kristen Gray’s Tweets this weekend. Many were unsure of their stance. Yes, encouraging people to move to Bali to live their best, most #Blessed life during a global pandemic, was (at best) horrendously tone-deaf and naive. But on the other side, there are a lot of people living in Bali in exactly Kristen’s position. Even down to having their own ‘How to Bali’ eBook to tote on the topic. Plus, there was nothing in Kristen’s messages that expats haven’t been bombarded with a million times before by Bali’s darling horde of Instagrammers-in-the-wild.

Now the Tweetstorm is settling, and Kristen is awaiting deportation, we are taking a look at the reasons Kristen’s Tweets got her in trouble.

1. The Current COVID-19 Pandemic Situation in Bali

kristen gray living and working in bali

The COVID-19 situation is particularly sensitive in Indonesia right now. From 11th – 25th January, Bali has been in lockdown to tackle the spread of Coronavirus. Restaurants have a 9pm curfew and 25% capacity limit. Health and travel restrictions are in place. Foreigners are not permitted to enter Indonesia and the offshore visa application system is closed.

Tweeting about the benefits of moving to Bali at a time when it is not legally possible to do so was… not intelligent.

The government has stated Kristen’s attempt to encourage people to travel to the country during the pandemic was ‘unsettling to the public.’


2. Gave Misinformation About Working & Paying Tax in Bali

kristen gray bali deportedKristen sold an e-book titled Our Bali Life Is Yours and offered paid consultations on travelling to Bali, violating the purpose of her stay permit.

Although there are many digital nomads in Bali on tourist visas, it is in fact a grey zone and not fully legal. If you are living in Bali long term and working here, you should have an Indonesian company set up and be paying the appropriate taxes.

It was also pretty insensitive for Kristen to demonstrate it was easy for her to earn a comfortable living in Bali while so many are suffering extreme economic challenges brought about by the pandemic.


3. Culturally Tone-Deaf

We presume now Kristen Gray has had some time to reflect, she will understand how her naivety to the actual experience of Indonesians has caused a deep upset in the community.working in bali illegally

Commenting on how richly she can live in Bali as an expat, without considering how much of the population is struggling financially with swathes of the country living in poverty, was highly insensitive. This really hit a nerve as the gentrification of Bali and pricing out of the local population is a hot topic of recent years.

Kristen also labelled Bali as ‘Queer Friendly.’ Although this may be her experience in Bali, the LGBTQ+ community faces horrendous persecution across much of Indonesia. Just one example of this is the bill proposed by Indonesian lawmakers in March 2020 that would force lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to undergo conversion therapy.


What Kristen could have done differently

There’s little that can be done to combat the poor timing and insensitive elements of Kristen’s posts. But when it comes to the legality of living and working in Bali, there are a number of ways Kristen could have got herself in a secure position.

In this post, we explain how you can set up a foreign-owned company in Indonesia (PT PMA) and how this can support your visa, whether it is a Working Kitas or Investor Kitas.

Next week we’ll be running through the steps to creating a locally owned company (PT) so check back then if this is of interest.

If you have any questions about living and working in Bali, please do not hesitate to contact us on info@visaagencybali.com.

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