Indian culture hits you the minute you set foot off the plane: the heat; the colour; the vibrancy; the people; the cockroaches; the smells; the city buzz; the poverty. All these experiences contribute to the memories you will take back of working in India. It is a huge country, divided into states with cultures as vastly different as Liverpool is to Berwick-upon-Tweed!
Goa is India’s smallest state, home to stunning scenery, beaches and infectiously happy people.
Jobs in Goa range from internships in computing to waitressing alongside the Indian Ocean. The state is an ever-increasing favourite location for industrialists, introducing jobs aplenty in data management and data entry. These might sound boring if you know nothing about computers or hate office work, but it can be fun if you choose the right company or job. The trouble with choosing a job before you go is that you will never know if the reviews you find on the internet are completely true. Word of mouth is the research tool and www.expatforum.com is an excellent place to talk to British people working there who can sometimes give you inside information. A great website is www.india.recruit.net which links you to a variety of good sites depending on the job you want. Also check out www.thecallcentrejob.com for various office based jobs plus www.indianhotjobs.com claims to be the top Indian portal for jobs – it lists thousands of jobs by industry and also the top 500 employers and top 50 by industry, so you can make notes and do some more Google searching as a result. It’s a good site to start from, and if you have a degree you are very likely to be snapped up as many law firms and accountancy firms welcome British applicants.
If you want to serve yummy food and exotic drinks, then there are a range of resort jobs on offer around Goa – the best way to find a job is simply walk around and ask. It should not take long to find out who is recruiting. However, as labour is cheap it is hard to save money in Goa: you must be prepared to work hard for low pay, but as you are working for the lifestyle, the people and the culture it will be worth every penny of your wage.
In terms of visas, companies such as Global Visas have a specialist team equipped to ‘manage and monitor your Indian visa application throughout the process, providing guidance and support at every stage.’ Indian work visas (or Indian Employment Visas, as they are often known) are only issued to those fulfilling a specific role, or skilled professionals. There are very vague requirements and guidelines for application, but each individual must have one before travelling to work in India. Most people apply for a visa through their employer and rely on their representation in India, but as the employee you can also organise a visa through the Indian Embassy or High Commission in your country of residence, providing you have a job secured.
Indonesia’s extremes of poverty are hard to ignore once you begin exploring the country. Despite this, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the incredible culture and opportunities right at your fingertips. Where else could you wake up at 3am to climb up to the magnificent crater of Mount Bombo, and then hop on a sleeper train to the coast that afternoon?
Indonesian work visas are almost as simple to obtain as lip gloss in the middle of the Amazon rainforest! You will need go through a long, painful process in order to gain a work visa, but it will be worth the effort. Everybody wanting to live and work there must have a sponsor both within England and Indonesia who will completely support you with the application, as mentioned above for India. If you want to stay working for more than 5 weeks (recommended if you really want to soak up true culture) you must clear it with the immigration office in Indonesia. Once cleared, your sponsor company must contact the embassy to find out the status of the application, and if it is successful you must then travel to the Indonesian embassy to complete a set of forms.
If you are interested in business jobs then Jakarta is the place to go! It is Indonesia’s government base and bursting with businessmen, which has brought jobs and money but also created greater poverty – be prepared for this.
There are random jobs scattered around Indonesia but you might need to search harder to find them. Stunning Sumatra, much further north, has a collection of wildlife based work which is great for budding conservationalists. English teachers are always required wherever you go in Indonesia. You do not have to be qualified, but it increases your confidence and chances of finding a job. Get yourself on a TEFL course or gain experience somehow, and embrace the opportunities out there to teach enthusiastic and bubbly children and/or adults. Larger schools may have a website so contact them if possible, but do so when you are in the country and have your visa sorted. www.tiptopjob.com is a good site for jobs across Indonesia.
Politeness and harmony is hugely important in Indonesian culture, so remember your manners and respect each individual you meet. Locals cannot stand tourists that come across with a superior attitude. You are far more likely to be successful in finding work if you are friendly and down to earth.
Indonesia consists of many different islands, one of which is Bali, so the visa requirements are the same for this magical place.
Bali is most memorable for its stunning scenery – it is indescribable. Everything is beautiful in Bali, even the cows. Wherever you go, there will always be beautiful music, wind chimes, smells and women. However, the dogs can be terrifying as they are allowed to run and bark freely in packs. The moment you step off a bus, swarms of people surround you trying to sell a room, a lift, a meal, peanuts…
Hospitality work is flourishing in Bali, with bars and nightclubs filling up the nooks and crannies of many towns. For some, Kuta Beach is wonderful and just what you want from a working holiday. If you enjoy bars, night clubs and partying from dusk till dawn, then Kuta is the place for you. If you have the all-important work visa, it is possible to find work once you arrive. Jobs are similar to those in European clubbing hotspots: bartenders, waitresses, dancers and performers are all required to entertain tourists and locals. The street of Jalan Legian divides Kuta, with bars and restaurants jostling for space on the beach side, with budget accommodation right on your doorstep to avoid a long and painful walk home after a night shift. Further along this infamous street is a strip of nightclubs that provide work. The main bars are always full of Aussies so you can guarantee there will be lots of other travellers about. The best thing to do is to chat to the owners of pubs whilst you are out and about: getting to know the locals increases your chance of becoming part of the team.
If you are hoping to find work in smaller bars, head for Seminyak – host to more personal and quieter drinking holes. The areas of Sanur and Nusa Dua, down the road from bustling Kuta has numerous relaxed reggae loving places. Ubud is another lovely quiet little town that has fewer tourists in comparison. Main jobs would be in the scattered bars, and in other tourist accommodation or in various jobs required by the locals.
When searching for a job in a bar, cafe or restaurant, do not be afraid to stroll in with a smile on your face and oozing confidence, even if you never been behind the working side of a bar before. If you have years of experience keep a CV to hand, but generally it is how you are on the day, your enthusiasm and your ability to summarise your skills that will get you the job.
The best place to find jobs, especially in the smaller towns, is through the local newspaper, the Bali Times. The paper advertises jobs, so it is worth looking at before you hop on an aeroplane. Most recruiters only have a telephone number, which you can call either from England or once you are in the country itself.
Many people think they can get away with working without a work visa, especially in hospitality as companies can be relaxed about staff requirements. However, the police are strict and often check bars and clubs for staff without visas. You do not want to be forced return to England early and be banned forever from this beautiful area of the world, just because you thought you would to save a few pennies by opting out of a work visa. The moral of the story is to respect the requirements of a country, people and culture in general!
So: find a job, organise a visa, book a flight and don’t look back! Check out the brilliant Black Pages for top jobs in India and Indonesia. Take every piece of advice from those who have travelled and worked there – it is the best advice you are ever going to get. Post messages on working abroad oriented Facebook Page and LinkedIn Groups. Communicate with other workers. Don’t limit yourself to staying in one place once you have finished working the initial job you went out there to do – the beauty of working and travelling is embracing the freedom and allowing your footsteps to go in whatever direction you want!
If you want more information on working in India, contact me through the Working Abroad Magazine group on Facebook – Amani Omejer.