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Asia Minute: Bali clears the way for more 'digital nomads'

A beach vendor sets chairs as he waits for customers in Kuta beach in Bali, Indonesia, on Thursday. The Indonesian resort island of Bali welcomed international travelers to its shops and white-sand beaches for the first time in more than a year Thursday - if they're vaccinated, test negative, hail from certain countries, quarantine and heed restrictions in public.
Firdia Lisnawati
FILE - A beach vendor sets chairs as he waits for customers in Kuta beach in Bali, Indonesia.

For many employees, the pandemic opened the door a bit wider for remote work. And one Pacific island is trying to capitalize on that trend.

The Indonesian island of Bali has clarified a travel arrangement informally known as the “digital nomad visa.”

The government says the B211a Social-Cultural visa can be extended up to six months — allowing the visitor to do business online without paying any taxes.

This week, Indonesia’s Tourism Minister Sandiaga Uno confirmed that’s the best route for foreign visitors who want to work remotely — a group that he says will “automatically have an impact on economic revival.”

Uno says more than 3,000 people used that visa from January to August.

The three countries topping the list for home countries: Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Bali Sun reports that applicants need to have the equivalent of at least $2,000 for living expenses and a valid outward-bound airline ticket.

Not everyone is happy about the move — including some community groups who warn that a continuing influx of digital workers will include some who are disrespectful of local culture.

One government official told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation he worries about “the erosion” of local values — but adds “we can’t deny these developments. I need to think about how we can mitigate these problems with our cultural programs.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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