Bali Promotion Center

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April 11, 2011

New Indonesian Immigration law will make Indonesia More Foreigner Friendly.


A couple of  days ago a new immigration law was passed by the Indonesian House of Representatives that will allow foreigners who have been married to an Indonesian for at least two years to get a permanent residence permit. This permit will be good for five years; at the end of five years, the expat will need to report to an immigration office and get a free renewal. This is a significant change over the present spousal visa which is only good for one year. According to reports (the actual bill hasn't been released to the public yet), expats on a spousal visa will be allowed to work although how this is going to play out hasn't been made clear yet.

The new law also affects children of mixed marriages who can apply for permanent residence permits once they reach the age of 18 if they choose not to accept Indonesian citizenship.

The law should be signed by the president within 30 days, after which details will be made public. I expect that it will take some time to "socialize" the new law to immigration offices around the country, but this is a welcome change for those of us who have had to report to immigration yearly and deal with the sometimes stressful process of obtaining a new visa.


A law expert lauded the new immigration law endorsed on Thursday by legislators as major progress in the country’s handling of immigrants and transnational families.
Giri Ahmad Taufik from the Center for Legal and Policy Studies (PSHK) said that the ITAP (stay permit), which could be granted to expatriates after living for three years in Indonesia, constituted progress.
“Previously, the pattern was that expatriates would have to replace their KITAS [temporary stay permit] periodically, and that became the object of exploitation by friends from immigration,” he said Thursday in a telephone interview.
Giri said that the new regulations on transnational marriages was even more progressive, as expatriates married to Indonesians would be eligible for a permanent residency after two years.
“It was hard for couples to unite before,” he said.
Giri said that the new immigration law would benefit Indonesia in two ways: Expatriates would feel more comfortable about owning property in Indonesia, and this would push up housing prices, and it showed that the government was serious about upholding human rights.
However, he said, the law carried risks for foreigners who were permanent residents.
“The law obliges those boarding foreigners to report to the authorities. This article is weak as it does not include the element of [whether the person violating the law] has done so intentionally or not,” Giri said.
Thus, she said, foreigners living in Indonesia would be eligible to be convicted of crimes according to Indonesian law, he said.

Bali News: Consider Yourself at Home!
The Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR-RI) has approved draft legislation that promises an unprecedented level ease for foreign residents.

A plenary session of the DPR-RI on Thursday, April 7, 2011, had three "foreign-friendly" regulations included in the draft immigration law now given the green light by legislators.

The highlight of these changes:

· Foreign investors can obtain permanent residency in Indonesia if they meet certain criteria. While foreign investors in the past had to stay in Indonesia for five years before applying for permanent residency, the new rules shorten that requirement to three years.

· Permanent residency will be given to families of "mixed marriages" between Indonesian and foreign nationals. This facility will extend to husbands, wives and children of such unions.

· Permanent residency without a time limit will be given to certain investors married to Indonesian citizens which can be renewed without payment every five years at an immigration office.

· Discrimination towards the offspring of "mixed marriages" between Indonesians and foreign nationals is expected to end with the new immigration law. Children resulting from such unions are entitled to Indonesian citizenship and allowed to permanently stay in Indonesia.

· Children of "mixed marriages" who are living overseas but wish to become Indonesian citizens will be facilitated with temporary citizenship identification valid for two years. After the two-year period they can obtain permanent residence in Indonesia.
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