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Expats residing in Indonesia told to register themselves

The Jakarta Post
July 17, 2001

JAKARTA (JP): All expatriates residing in Indonesia will be required to register at local immigration offices between Aug. 10 and Oct. 10.

The Immigration Office announced on Monday that registration would be mandatory for all overseas nationals living in Indonesia for more than three months.

These will include those foreigners who have been residing in the country without proper permits.

Staff working for diplomatic missions, as well as their dependents, are exempted from registering. These include those accredited to international organizations.

Registration will be free, the Immigration Office claims, with foreigners only being required to fill out a registration form and to present copies of their personal documents and up-to-date passport photos.

Director of Information at the Immigration Office, Hamsuk S. Wijaya, told journalists on Monday that the registration process was part of his office's periodic census of foreigners living in the country. It was last conducted in 1992.

"The registration of foreign citizens is (usually) held once every five years," Hamsuk said pointing to the fact that this would actually be the first such registration process since the introduction of Immigration Law No. 9 in 1992.

"Besides ascertaining the number of foreigners who currently live here, the registration process is also aimed at giving better protection and services to them," he said.

Hamsuk said that the Immigration Office plans to build a centralized database by issuing a Foreigner's Identification Number (NIOA).

Each expatriate during their registration will receive an identification number which would in the future be used as a reference for various other purposes.

"Foreigners can come to their local immigration office or other designated places. It will be free of charge," Hamsuk promised.

Those registering will have to fill out a form and present their immigration documents such as a passport, a permanent resident's card (ITAP), temporary resident's card (ITAS), along with two 3 x 4 cm passport photographs with red background.

According to Hamsuk, those who do not have the necessary documents, apart from a passport, can still register by filling out the form and presenting their passport-sized photographs.

While it was recommended that expats personally come to the immigration office, anyone who had "reasonable reasons" would not have to appear in person provided that his or her representative or agent was provided with a power of attorney signifying that he was representing the expatriate in question.

Hamsuk stressed that registration was mandatory and those neglecting to do so could face sanctions.

Article 51 of Law No. 9 states that a one-year jail sentence and a Rp 5 million fine could be imposed.

Hamsuk further said that based on his office's data, the number of foreigners in the country had declined over the past five years.

"Compared to the number of foreigners in 1999 when there were 4,089,540 here, the number of foreigners in 2000 was only 3,256,854," Hamsuk said, while adding that there were over 4.7 million foreigners here in 1996.

"Many foreigners are worried about whether this country is safe enough for investment or conducting business. Meanwhile, in the tourism field, we all know that some countries have warned their citizens about entering our country for security reasons," Hamsuk said.

He also revealed that as many as 2,000 foreigners in the country were in some sort of legal difficulty, including those arrested in drugs cases. (tso)

A few responses from the Expat Community

It's obviously just a way for them to generate a bit more cash. I mean they already have our fingerprints, photos, documents, etc. bh


Would in the future be used as a reference for various other purposes ... sounds ominous!! jb


I think that the idea is to collect data from foreign nationals in order to increase even more control over them (important for the military and police to check out suspected foreign agents and terrorists).

Mr. Hamsuk from the immigration department mentiones that registered foreign nationals can expect a better service and protection from the immigration authorities.

But, if I am not mistaken, every foreign national is already required to register with the immigration authorities after staying longer than 3 months in Indonesia (fingerprints included).

So why this double-effort? Even if its free of charge for foreign nationals, it costs money for the Indonesian state. Could that money not be invested where it is needed?


Beware the Wolf ... in sheep's clothing!

All companies in city told to register their expatriates

Jakarta Post
July 25, 2001

JAKARTA (JP): The city administration urged all companies to register expatriates on their payroll with the authorities.

The Jakarta chapter of the Foreigners Control Coordination (Sipora) team briefed on Tuesday representatives of more than 100 companies, including hotels, on the administration's policy toward foreign workers and on its plan to reregister all foreigners working in the country starting next month.

The team, comprising officials from the Directorate General of Immigration, Directorate General of Tax, tourism agencies, the police, as well as the Ministry of Manpower, said companies could help with the planned census.

"We'd like them to assist us in reporting the number of foreigners working at their company," Edison Sianturi, chief of SIPORA secretariat, told reporters after the briefing.

For hotel proprietors, besides registering expatriates on their payroll, they must also alert the authorities about foreign guests who are staying for more than three months.

Djoko Slamet Surjoputro, the director of tax services for foreign companies and foreigners at the Ministry of Finance, believed many expatriates have been working without the necessary papers, thus evading their tax obligations.

"It's only natural for the government to tax foreigners who are making their living in Indonesia," Djoko said.

The Directorate General for Immigration announced last week that the authorities would begin the periodic census of foreigners in the country on Aug. 10.

The last census was conducted in 1992.

All foreigners who have lived in Indonesia for more than three months must register with the nearest immigration office. The 1992 Law on Immigration stipulates a one-year jail term and a Rp 5 million (US$500) fine for those who fail to comply.

In 2000, 3,256,854 expatriates, including their dependents, were registered to live and work in Indonesia with the Directorate General for Immigration.

Iman Santoso, the director general of immigration, said the census on foreigners was a routine activity.

"Not only will this enable us to give them better protection, but it will also provide them with better (immigration) services," Iman said.

Under existing regulations, foreigners can only take up employment in restricted fields, usually in positions that could not be filled by Indonesians.

Iman said the census was intended to ensure compliance with the regulation. "We want to prevent locals from being forced out of their jobs by foreigners," he said.

The team acknowledged that the majority of companies in the capital have been cooperative.

"They have been reporting the number of foreign visitors and workers. We just want to brief them further so they fully understand the government's policy," Edison said.

Many representatives of the companies who were present at the briefing said they were aware of the sanctions if they failed to declare the number of visitors working or staying with them.

A representative of an American oil company who requested anonymity said his company had always complied with the government regulations on employing foreigners.

"Why risk having trouble with the authorities? It's more practical to simply comply with the rules," he said.

Sumaryono, accounting manager of Karya Bahana hotel on Jl. Jaksa in Central Jakarta, said he did not have any problem with the regulation to report his foreign guests.

"We want our business to run as smoothly as possible," he said, adding: "We have been registering our guests anyway."


Expat Registration in Bali:
Immigration Department Does a Foreigner Head Count

Foreigners Residing in Bali Required to Register Between August 10 and October 31, 2001. Bali's immigration office, as part of a national campaign, is asking that all foreigners residing on the island register themselves between the dates of August 10 and October 31, 2001.

The following schedule has been established for the registration process:

Denpasar Area - August 10 to 16 at the Renon Immigration Office.
Badung (Kuta) Area - August 20 to 24 at the Tuban Immigration Office.
Gianyar Area - August 27 to 30 at the Renon Immigration Office.
Bangli Area - September 3 to 7 at the Renon Immigration Office.
Singaraja & Negara Areas - October 1 - 14 at the Renon Immigration Office.
Klungkung Area - October 16 to 19 at the Renon Immigration Office.

The Renon Immigration Office is located at Jalan Di Panjaitan in Renon, Denpasar. The Tuban Immigration Office is located at Jalan Gusti Nrurah Rai, Tuban (near the airport).

Those required to report and register are foreigners holding permanent resident status (ITAP), temporary resident status (ITAS), holders of a short stay permit (BVKS), and residents of staying in Indonesia for more than 3 months who do not yet have a formal immigration status.

According to officials of the Bali Immigration office, the registration will be done without cost but those registering are requested to bring two passport size photos (3 x 4 cm with red background) to complete the process.

According to a report carried in the Indonesian language Bali Post some 852 foreign residents on Bali hold a formal (ITAS) Temporary Stay Permit, 10 possess a (ITAP) Permanent Stay Permit, 1,583 have a short stay permit (Kartu Kunjungan Singkat and 489 are registered as ship's crew (Daksuskim).

The number of formal work permits registered in Bali total 285 including 50 working in travel and tour companies, 12 in sea tourism, 13 in restaurants, 12 in non-starred hotels, and 120 in hotels established under facilities provided by the National Investment Board. Local press estimate some 5,000 foreigners operate businesses in Bali without the necessary immigration and labor department permits.

The Immigration Authorites have issued calls to local government elements in reporting the presence of foreigners living on the island.

Source: Bali Update: Bali Discovery