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Immigration Chief Discounts Corruption Allegations

Bali Immigration Boss Urges Public to Process Own Documents, While Bali's Airport Immigration Chief Insists Illegal Levies Do Not Exist at Ngurah Rai.

(12/31/2005) As reported on balidiscovery.com, [ An Angry President Puts Immigration on Notice ], there is growing pressure across Indonesia for a clean up and reformation in administrative practices of the Nation's immigration officers.

Speaking to the Indonesian-language Bali Post, Bali's Chef Immigration Officer, Drs. Paul Karo, M.M., admitted the existence of officers in Bali accepting illegal payments and said efforts to eliminate such practice remain a high-priority of his office.

Drs. Karo blamed reports of excessive charges for immigration services on the role of middlemen and service companies hired to process immigration documents. To avoid overpaying for such services Drs. Karo urged people to process their own documents, taking the opportunity to expose the official tariff for various immigration services provided by his department:

The cost of obtaining a passport is Rp. 275,00 (approximately US$27.50), comprised of Rp. 200,000 for the actual passport, Rp. 55,000 for a photograph, and Rp, 5,000 for fingerprinting.

The formal cost of arranging a temporary stay permit (KITAS) for a foreign national is Rp. 200,000 (approximately US$20) and Rp. 400,000 (approximately US$40) for an extension.

The official cost of arranging a permanent stay permit (KITAP) is Rp. 2 million (approximately US$200) and Rp. 1 million (approximately US$100) for an extension.

Missing Fiscal Taxes Not an Immigration Issue

Reports in local media claiming that mishandling of the Rp. 1 million (approximately US$100) fiscal clearance tax paid by departing Indonesians and foreign residents has earned a quick rebuttal from immigration officials who insist administration of the tax is a matter solely at the discretion of tax officers.

The Indonesian-language daily Kompas has estimated losses of Rp. 1 trillion (US$1 billion) to the Country incurred through improper administration of the fiscal tax at Bali and Jakarta's international airport and various other immigration irregularities. In addition to losses in carrying out the fiscal tax payments, Kompas also cited the issuance of false passports, illegal levies charged to Indonesian expatriate workers, and illegal fees demanded from foreign visitors and investors as contribution to the massive figure estimated to be lost each year.

Meanwhile, immigration officials have been quick to deny any involvement in the loss or disappearance of fiscal tax payments. In the defense of their department, immigration officials point to the fact that fiscal tax payments are collected by officials of the tax department at all airports, with their office only verifying that departing Indonesians and residents are in possession of the fiscal tax receipt.

Also quoted in the Bali Post, Rai M. Zaelani, the Chief of the Bali International Airport immigration office insisted that illegal levies, counterfeit passport issuance, and the failure to control immigration blacklists recently complained of by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono do not exist among his airport immigration workers.

Despite such official denials, the Bali Post (21/12) carried a page-one report from an unnamed member of the public claiming the cost of obtaining a passport in Bali can cost 5 times the "official" tariff. The individual quoted in the report, a businessman in the export-import industry, suggested malfeasance in local immigration administration was widespread, pointing to the fact that short-term resident permits and work permits issued in Bali number only in the hundreds while, in fact, their are thousands of foreign nationals working on the island without benfit of formal immigration and manpower permits.