Indonesia removes fast-track privileges for immigration agencies

Indonesia

The Indonesian government will no longer allow immigration agencies to use their fast-track rights for the processing of visa permits. This measure, according to the immigration office, is said to be a part of an initiative of Joko Widodo’s, President of Indonesia, to crack down on illegal levies.

As per the new policy made effective since 14 November, foreign nationals employed in Indonesia and also their employers’ representatives may need to be physically present at immigration offices and wait in queues like the other visa applicants.

Heru Santoso, a spokesperson with the Indonesian Immigration Directorate General at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying that expatriates could submit their applications via migration agents too, but the service offered to the agents would no longer be special. They would require queuing up like all other applicants, he said.

Santoso said that all applications would henceforth be treated equally. Answering to a question if all applicants need to be physically present, he said that an immigration officer may at any time request the applicant to be there in person.

According to Santoso, the new policy was put in place to aid in improving accountability and transparency of the country’s immigration services.

He added that these moves were put in place to address the issue of agents bribing immigration officers hasten the processing of visa applications.

Santoso said that this step would also allow foreigners to find out for themselves the official cost of visa applications. Earlier, they were reportedly paying more than necessary to services rendered by migration agents as only a few of them were aware of the official costs, he said.

Santoso said that his ministry had apprised all immigration offices in this Southeast Asian nation about this measure through an internal circular.

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