According to Indonesia's Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, the visa fee being collected from the citizens of 21 countries and territories upon arrival in Indonesia will not cause tourism arrival numbers to nose-dive.
In place since February 1, 2004, the new policy requires many visitors who formerly received a 60 day visit pass without charge to now pay a US$ 25 fee for a 30 day non-extendable visa or US$ 10 for a 3 day visa. Those not on the list of 21 countries and territories who can purchase their visa on arrival or not citizens of the 11 countries and territories given 30 days visas without charge, must apply for and obtain a visa before entering the country under the new policy.
Defending the visa fee as necessary to pay the cost of a modernized immigration system for Indonesia, he told an Agence France correspondent: "We take care of people from Afghanistan and Iraq. Is it just to collect taxes from poor people to pay for refugees and illegal migrants here?"
The Minister insisted that the new visa system is working smoothly and tourist flows remain at normal levels.
Repeating a favorite theme of reciprocity in bi-lateral visa policies, Minister Mahendra said :"There's no objection from foreigners coming here if they should pay US$ 25 for visa on arrival. To get a visa to Australia or the United States we should pay Rp 450,000 (US$ 54). If they refuse (to grant visas) we don't get our money back."
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