Mon, 14 Mar 2011
From:
EXPATS OPERATING businesses or consulting services in Batam are being alerted to be aware of a cabal of Immigration officials currently seeking to extort money over trivial or inconsequential technical breaches of Visa rules.
“We seem to be seeing a sudden rash of exploitative errors’,” said corp-orate consultant Gary Dean of Okusi Associates (Jakarta, Batam and Bali).

In one of the most recent cases the officials demanded a US$30,000 pay-off from a Batu Ampar client of Okusi on the basis that it had failed to secure a KITAS (Work Permit) for two senior employees based at the group’s Singapore operation.
Both had been appointed Directors of the Group’s Indonesian subsidiary and routinely travelled to Batam for one or two days for periodic meetings.

Technically anyone appointed Director of an Indonesian company is required to have a KITAS.

Company officers believe a disgruntled employee who had recently been made aware of the technical breach tipped off Immigration officials.

The officials then stopped one of the company Directors as he attempted to depart for Singapore, confiscated his passport, detained him and demanded and received a large sum of money.
Gary Dean has reported details of the case to the Batam Investment Board. Immigration officers are apparently denying that any demands for money ever happened and accusing the complainants of manufacturing false allegations.

In a second case Immigration officers made a “raid” on the office of another company that had recently moved to new premises. The company had applied for and received new Domicile document-ation for the new premises but retained some company documents in the original office.

Technically a company is required to house all company documents in the premises specified as its Domicile.
The officers, presumably acting on a tip-off, discovered this “breach” and demanded money to make this “problem” go away.
No money was paid and Okusi Associates took the matter to Jakarta where it was dismissed as trivial and documents prepared to cover the situation without payment.

Gary Dean is filing a complaint over the actions of the Batam officials with the Anti-Corruption Commission (KPK) in Jakarta.
“Usually the KPK is not interested in any matters involving amounts of less than US$100,000,” Gary said. “However, I will be putting this to them on the basis that this kind of behaviour can put at risk current and potential investments running into many millions of dollars and therefore should be addressed.”

So what to do if you find you, your staff or your company are being targeted?

“The main thing is DON’T PANIC,” said Gary. “Generally the best thing is to effectively do nothing don’t pay, don’t get angry, don’t admit to anything, don’t sign anything, keep your nerve and be prepared to sit around for a long time in unpleasant circumstances.

“Often Expats relatively new to Indonesia become so outraged in these circumstances that they do not deal with the situation as they should, particularly when they are uncertain about details of the laws and regulations here.

“Make sure you obtain and write down the names and ranks of officials by checking name tags, and listen for and record other names and positions. Ask for letters of authority and copy them. It is impossible to follow up on these matters or seek action without accurate details of the circumstances and the people involved.

“Basically, if you can keep calm and simply demonstrate that you will make extorting you as difficult as possible then eventually they will probably give up.”

Gary said companies being harassed were welcome to contact him at Okusi Associates for advice or to act for them. However, it was essential that they be able to provide all the facts, names, dates and places.

“They should also be aware that we probably cannot achieve an instant result, “Gary said. It will usually take some days before we get anywhere.”


NOTE: In a further issue for the first company referred to above, an employee (also son of the local manager) was accused of working illegally and the company was reporteldy required to pay US$8,000 but he was deported anyway. The interesting elelemnt of this is that the son was the only witness to an incident that led to his father being locked up on a charge of assault the father was subsequently released following the intervention of the US Consul-General from Medan.


Mon, 14 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by KuKuKaChu
Guess whose turn to get hammered? Immigration Blitzkrieg Continues

YES, last week it was our turn to come under the attention of the team from Immigrasi.

Purely a coincidence, of course, and nothing to do with the report on Immigration activities which appeared in our previous newsletter (4 February).

The outcomes -
Two nights locked up in the Immigration detention cell at the Batam Centre Ferry Terminal for one of our Western staff.

A fine of Rp 25 million for the crime of failing to have an existing Work Permit endorsed to permit consulting work for a company other than our company (as the original sponsor).
The final settlement came after three long days of interviews, statements and negotiations involving five people from two companies.

Meantime, information has emerged of yet another Batu Ampar company that was called in very recently over alleged technical breaches resulting in:

Payment of Rp 15 million to recover two confiscated passports needed to allow the bearers to depart Batam (apparently no actual offence was identified).

Payment of Rp 80 million to get clearances for five client representatives visiting Batam in relation to a major contract. The visitors had been confined to a hotel under quasi house arrest.

There also has been an unconfirmed suggestion that companies are to be required to report the arrival of foreign nationals to Immigration and pay an administration fee of Rp 1.5 million per report.

In the case of our staff member the Immigration Investigation team travelled all the way down the Barelang Highway to raid a company base on the island of Galang.

Needless to say our staff member was unable to produce his ORIGINAL passport and KITAS on the spot (he keeps them in the safe like everyone else). But he did so next morning and was promptly invited to the Batam Centre Immigration headquarters for questioning.

Along with the Human Resources Officer of the company with whom he was consulting, he was questioned throughout the day about his role and the circumstances. Then he was asked to surrender his passport.

Being aware of a previous instance in which a friend was required to pay Rp 10 million to have his passport returned, our staff member refused to surrender the document, saying that he had complied with the requirement to produce it and that the Immigration authorities were welcome to make a photocopy of any and all pages.

Within minutes he was in the lock-up (a cell of about two metres by two metres), along with two Malaysian overstay detainees.

The grounds for his detention - not that he had refused to surrender the passport but that he had committed an offence by failing to produce his original documents when originally approached at the Galang base.

(NOTE KITAS Holders - under this interpretation to remain safe you presumably are supposed to carry your passport and original KITAS with you at all times! Otherwise you have already committed an offence warranting detention.)
Our staff member has lived in Batam and held a Work Permit here continuously for some five years and never previously had any Immigration issues. He has a wife and child and a home here - any suggestion that he might be a “flight risk” would be ludicrous.

So why lock him up?

Another day, another round of statements, negotiations, waiting around and obfuscation, including production of a copy of Immigration regulations translated into English but a polite refusal to provide a copy - but with a later mention that it might be available on the Internet. (We have since located the document on the website of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra - email douglas@bataminfo.com if you would like a copy.)

Indications also that total “fines” could reach Rp100 million and murmurings of a potential deportation.

Our submission throughout was that though there was no formal written contract between the two companies, our staff member was a long-time holder of a Work Permit and we were under the impression that this entitled him to accept a consulting role with another party. Apparently not so (BEWARE).

But it emerged that there is supposedly a relatively simple procedure under which Manpower may be requested to endorse a Work Permit to allow the holder to undertake work for companies other than the original sponsor - it’s just that nobody we know seems to know about it.

The theme of this exhausting second day was “co-operation” with our staff member agreeing to hand over his passport on the implicit understanding that he would be released from custody pending a resumption next day.

But surprise, surprise - come 5.30 and our man is hustled back to the lock-up and it’s even too late to obtain a clearance for anyone to visit or bring requisites.

The explanation - the “Boss” had decided he should do another night and day in the slammer because of his lack of co-operation the previous day. (Could it have been about ramping up the pressure?).

From next morning another day of statements, waiting around and negotiations until finally at around 4pm the amount of the Fine necessary to “solve the case” is settled. A rush around to gather the cash and by around 6pm our staff member is released and all documents returned.

This is necessarily a superficial account of the challenges involved in dealing with this matter and an agency that has elevated the process of using its powers to frustrate and intimidate foreign companies and nationals to an art form.
The alleged offence under which the matter was handled (to justify the fine) was expressed in terms of a “deliberate and wilful” breach of the Immigration regulations - nothing like the reality.

The Regulation cited was the catch-all Article 50 which states that:
Any foreign national who deliberately and wilfully misuses his or her Immigration permit or visa or conducts activities not in accordance with the purpose for said document, shall be liable to a maximum imprisonment of 5 (five) years or a maximum fine of Rp 25,000,000 (twenty-five million Rupiahs).

In a so-called Special Economic Zone where foreign investment is allegedly being encouraged, would not an appropriate response be to identify a “technical breach”, administer a warning or nominal fine and, more importantly, provide detailed guidance as to the Regulations and how to comply with them?

Some other considerations which have emerged and of which foreign companies and nationals need to be aware:
Unlike the Police, Immigration can detain you for as long as long as they like and apparently there is no appeal.

If you should opt to have a matter go to Court rather than accepting a Fine you will likely be held in detention until the court hearing takes place (who knows when), you will likely lose, and Immigration will likely seek deportation (meaning you are likely blackballed for at least two years).

To the best of our knowledge there is apparently no avenue of appeal against Immigration Office decisions.

The implication is that to protect themselves foreign companies and nationals working in Batam MUST somehow become thoroughly familiar with the Immigration and Manpower Work Permit regulations or find someone who knows them backwards and can keep up with periodic changes in the rules.
Furthermore it is unlikely that most local Human Resources staff will have the breadth of knowledge or experience to alert you to these issues or to handle them for you.

To this end, together with Gary Dean of Okusi Associates, we will be seeking a meeting next week with officials of Immigration, Manpower and other agencies associated with the the Special Economic Zone administration and the Batam Foreign Investment Board to:
Try to establish a process under which foreign companies and nationals can readily obtain detailed documentation in English as to key rules and Regulations and guidance as to how they may be applied.

Seek arrangements for the regular and timely dissemination of information as to any changes in regulations and procedures.

Press for creation of a Help Desk where companies and individuals uncertain of how to proceed can obtain information and advice on regulations and compliance on a case by case basis.

We may get nowhere but we need to make the effort and over coming weeks we will report information we obtain in this Newsletter and make it generally available to anyone who requires it.

For example, few foreign nationals are probably aware that new provisions covering Work Permits were implemented as long ago as 2008 under which it is possible to obtain a multiple entry KITAS for periods as short as one or two months with proportionate reductions in the their cost.

The provisions also reportedly provide for the issue of a KITAS for up to two years rather than being limited to a year (bet your agent did not tell you about that one - and maybe that’s why we are yet to see such a document).

These are the kinds of issues on which we will be seeking clarification and we will try to bring you ACCURATE information as and when we can.


Mon, 14 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by fred
Jolly nice of you to mention it.


Mon, 14 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by Om Pong
Just make sure it's ACCURATE.


Mon, 14 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by Vulgarian
He even used basically in the original post. Shocking.


Tue, 15 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by Om Pong
He's a one man special economic zone.


Tue, 15 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by Om Pong
laser cheating dasar preman laser Batam bastards.


Tue, 15 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by iceu_juiceu
ohffs what a shame


Tue, 15 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by Kitty
hufff..what I can say???


Thu, 17 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by OrangJawa
Firstable any aliens should not break laws. You guys should respect regulations apply in the country you live and work, or you get detained, deported and/or banned from this country. Simple as that!


Thu, 17 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by Om Pong
Naif banget.


Thu, 17 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by Kitty
Quoting: OrangJawa
Firstable any aliens should not break laws. You guys should respect regulations apply in the country you live and work, or you get detained, deported and/or banned from this country. Simple as that!



well..well.. wink


Thu, 17 Mar 2011
From: JakChat
Comment by Om Pong
wank



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