New visa rules may require foreigners to join the queue

The government has disallowed immigration agencies from utilizing their fast-track privileges in the processing of visa permits, a move that the immigration office claims is part of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s agenda to crack down on illegal levies.

As a result of the new policy, which has been in effect since Nov. 14, foreigners working in Indonesia, as well as representatives of their employers, may be required to be present in person at immigration offices and join the queue just like regular applicants.

Heru Santoso, spokesperson for the Immigration Directorate General at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, however, denied circulating information saying that licenses issued to migration agents and other third parties would be revoked.

“If [expatriates] want to submit through migration agents, it’s their right [to do so]. But the point is, our service to the agents is the same as other applicants. They need to queue up like everyone else,” Heru told The Jakarta Post.

He asserted that all applications, be they through third parties or not, would receive equal treatment.

When asked if all applicants would be required to attend in person, Heru only said, “It’s the right of an immigration officer to request the presence of the concerned party.” He repeated this when asked for further details.

Heru said the new policy would also help improve transparency and accountability in the country’s immigration services.