Head of the Class I Immigration Checkpoint at the Central Jakarta Immigration Office, Barron Ichsan, has said foreigners tend to claim they have lost their passports to avoid deportation or repatriation to their home country.
Barron explained that as many as 154 foreigners were deported throughout 2020 because they did not have valid documents or residence permits for Indonesia. Most were from countries in Africa.
“The trend is that they deliberately lose their passports here. Maybe because their faces are similar so they can exchange passports,” said Barron.
With the loss of their passports, foreigners can manipulate the length of their stay in Jakarta, thus avoiding deportation and being able to stay longer. Additionally, according to Barron, the trend of immigration administration action against foreigners during the pandemic has decreased.
The government, through the Directorate General of Immigration at the Law and Human Rights Ministry, has issued a policy of extending the time that foreigners can apply for a visa. The change in policy has led to the introduction of onshore visas.
This policy also allows foreigners to remain in Indonesia whilst applying for a visit visa or residency permit. Previously, people had to be outside the country to make visa applications.
“Currently, we are taking a policy called an ‘onshore’ visa. That policy will always adjust to the situation and conditions of the pandemic’s development,” said Barron.