Tue, 06 Aug 2002

Government considering shortening tourist visa

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government is currently studying the possibility of shortening tourist visas from 60 days to 30 days.

"Yes, we are studying the possibility as part of our efforts to minimize visa abuses," Antara quoted the director general of immigration at the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, Iman Santoso, as saying in Sanur, Bali, on Monday.

The tourist visa is issued to foreigners on arrival in Indonesia. The visa is valid only for 60 days, but many foreigners misuse it, Iman said.

"Just like social and cultural visas, many foreigners misuse tourist visas for business," he said.

In other matters, Iman said his office, in issuing passports to Indonesian migrant workers (TKIs), could not possibly determine who would work illegally and who would work legally.

"As long as they meet the administrative requirements (they will be given a visa)," he said.

"But we cannot prevent or deal with passport holders who create trouble at their places of work," Iman said.

He was also asked to comment on the increasing number of TKIs using fake passports to work overseas. These migrant workers use passports belonging to other people and simply change the photograph.

Most of the migrant workers found to be using fake passports are skilled laborers working in Japan and South Korea.

The Immigration Office in Bali has received at least 20 Indonesian workers deported from Japan and South Korea this year. Most of the deported workers, however, returned overseas using passports belonging to other people.

"It all goes back to the intentions and honesty of passport applicants, because the immigration office cannot prevent Indonesian citizens from owning a passport.

"And the immigration office cannot be blamed if they cause troubles where they work," Iman said.