The first episode of Platform by AmCham Indonesia, takes an informed look at concerns surrounding immigration issues for expat workers and their families who are either in Indonesia and need to renew their stay permits, or are stuck abroad because of COVID-19 and have permits that are either expired or up for renewal.
The good news: Indonesia’s immigration authorities are going out of their way to be flexible in the case of expats both inside and outside the country.
AmCham Indonesia Managing Director A Lin Neumann hosts the podcast, with immigration expert Stephen Igor Warokka, Supervising Partner in Immigration Law and Work Permits of SSEK Legal Consultants, discussing the latest changes in immigration policy, and explaining what they mean on a practical level.
AmCham has developed a good working relationship with the Directorate General of Immigration, recently hosting a meeting with its Director for International Cooperation, Rochadi Iman Santoso, and together with Stephen is in an ideal position to both provide input to the directorate general and understand its policies.
The podcast discusses how accommodating and helpful Immigration has been and continues to be as it extends deadlines for foreigners and allows expired visas to be renewed because of the crisis. One example is that those who are abroad with expired residence permits and cannot get back to Indonesia now have until Dec. 31 to renew their documents. Individuals stuck in Indonesia with expired visas can easily renew them with sanctions, Stephen notes on the podcast.
Immigration officials are asking in return that foreign countries ensure that Indonesians stuck abroad are given the same courteous treatment. The basic message is that the government has been listening to and responding to concerns from the business community.
Stephen notes in particular that Immigration’s website and social media channels are being used effectively to outline policy updates and are a great source of information for worried expats in both English and Bahasa. The FAQ section, for example, is used to release updates and policy clarifications quickly and the Immigration Instagram account is quick to provide answers to questions.
When asked how to stay up to date, Stephen urged three things. Keep in contact with organizations like AmCham and other experts; regularly visit the Immigration website and other social media; and do not panic when new regulatory updates are announced, instead, read the website FAQ.
Platform by AmCham Indonesia is produced by In Depth Creative. The podcast looks at investment, business and related issues in Indonesia.