Guess whose turn to get hammered? Immigration Blitzkrieg Continues

YES, last week it was our turn to come..." /> Guess whose turn to get hammered? Immigration Blitzkrieg Continues

YES, last week it was our turn to come...">
Guess whose turn to get hammered? Immigration Blitzkrieg Continues

YES, last week it was our turn to come under the attention of the team from Immigrasi.

Purely a coincidence, of course, and nothing to do with the report on Immigration activities which appeared in our previous newsletter (4 February).

The outcomes -
Two nights locked up in the Immigration detention cell at the Batam Centre Ferry Terminal for one of our Western staff.

A fine of Rp 25 million for the crime of failing to have an existing Work Permit endorsed to permit consulting work for a company other than our company (as the original sponsor).
The final settlement came after three long days of interviews, statements and negotiations involving five people from two companies.

Meantime, information has emerged of yet another Batu Ampar company that was called in very recently over alleged technical breaches resulting in:

Payment of Rp 15 million to recover two confiscated passports needed to allow the bearers to depart Batam (apparently no actual offence was identified).

Payment of Rp 80 million to get clearances for five client representatives visiting Batam in relation to a major contract. The visitors had been confined to a hotel under quasi house arrest.

There also has been an unconfirmed suggestion that companies are to be required to report the arrival of foreign nationals to Immigration and pay an administration fee of Rp 1.5 million per report.

In the case of our staff member the Immigration Investigation team travelled all the way down the Barelang Highway to raid a company base on the island of Galang.

Needless to say our staff member was unable to produce his ORIGINAL passport and KITAS on the spot (he keeps them in the safe like everyone else). But he did so next morning and was promptly invited to the Batam Centre Immigration headquarters for questioning.

Along with the Human Resources Officer of the company with whom he was consulting, he was questioned throughout the day about his role and the circumstances. Then he was asked to surrender his passport.

Being aware of a previous instance in which a friend was required to pay Rp 10 million to have his passport returned, our staff member refused to surrender the document, saying that he had complied with the requirement to produce it and that the Immigration authorities were welcome to make a photocopy of any and all pages.

Within minutes he was in the lock-up (a cell of about two metres by two metres), along with two Malaysian overstay detainees.

The grounds for his detention - not that he had refused to surrender the passport but that he had committed an offence by failing to produce his original documents when originally approached at the Galang base.

(NOTE KITAS Holders - under this interpretation to remain safe you presumably are supposed to carry your passport and original KITAS with you at all times! Otherwise you have already committed an offence warranting detention.)
Our staff member has lived in Batam and held a Work Permit here continuously for some five years and never previously had any Immigration issues. He has a wife and child and a home here - any suggestion that he might be a “flight risk” would be ludicrous.

So why lock him up?

Another day, another round of statements, negotiations, waiting around and obfuscation, including production of a copy of Immigration regulations translated into English but a polite refusal to provide a copy - but with a later mention that it might be available on the Internet. (We have since located the document on the website of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra - email douglas@bataminfo.com if you would like a copy.)

Indications also that total “fines” could reach Rp100 million and murmurings of a potential deportation.

Our submission throughout was that though there was no formal written contract between the two companies, our staff member was a long-time holder of a Work Permit and we were under the impression that this entitled him to accept a consulting role with another party. Apparently not so (BEWARE).

But it emerged that there is supposedly a relatively simple procedure under which Manpower may be requested to endorse a Work Permit to allow the holder to undertake work for companies other than the original sponsor - it’s just that nobody we know seems to know about it.

The theme of this exhausting second day was “co-operation” with our staff member agreeing to hand over his passport on the implicit understanding that he would be released from custody pending a resumption next day.

But surprise, surprise - come 5.30 and our man is hustled back to the lock-up and it’s even too late to obtain a clearance for anyone to visit or bring requisites.

The explanation - the “Boss” had decided he should do another night and day in the slammer because of his lack of co-operation the previous day. (Could it have been about ramping up the pressure?).

From next morning another day of statements, waiting around and negotiations until finally at around 4pm the amount of the Fine necessary to “solve the case” is settled. A rush around to gather the cash and by around 6pm our staff member is released and all documents returned.

This is necessarily a superficial account of the challenges involved in dealing with this matter and an agency that has elevated the process of using its powers to frustrate and intimidate foreign companies and nationals to an art form.
The alleged offence under which the matter was handled (to justify the fine) was expressed in terms of a “deliberate and wilful” breach of the Immigration regulations - nothing like the reality.

The Regulation cited was the catch-all Article 50 which states that:
Any foreign national who deliberately and wilfully misuses his or her Immigration permit or visa or conducts activities not in accordance with the purpose for said document, shall be liable to a maximum imprisonment of 5 (five) years or a maximum fine of Rp 25,000,000 (twenty-five million Rupiahs).

In a so-called Special Economic Zone where foreign investment is allegedly being encouraged, would not an appropriate response be to identify a “technical breach”, administer a warning or nominal fine and, more importantly, provide detailed guidance as to the Regulations and how to comply with them?

Some other considerations which have emerged and of which foreign companies and nationals need to be aware:
Unlike the Police, Immigration can detain you for as long as long as they like and apparently there is no appeal.

If you should opt to have a matter go to Court rather than accepting a Fine you will likely be held in detention until the court hearing takes place (who knows when), you will likely lose, and Immigration will likely seek deportation (meaning you are likely blackballed for at least two years).

To the best of our knowledge there is apparently no avenue of appeal against Immigration Office decisions.

The implication is that to protect themselves foreign companies and nationals working in Batam MUST somehow become thoroughly familiar with the Immigration and Manpower Work Permit regulations or find someone who knows them backwards and can keep up with periodic changes in the rules.
Furthermore it is unlikely that most local Human Resources staff will have the breadth of knowledge or experience to alert you to these issues or to handle them for you.

To this end, together with Gary Dean of Okusi Associates, we will be seeking a meeting next week with officials of Immigration, Manpower and other agencies associated with the the Special Economic Zone administration and the Batam Foreign Investment Board to:
Try to establish a process under which foreign companies and nationals can readily obtain detailed documentation in English as to key rules and Regulations and guidance as to how they may be applied.

Seek arrangements for the regular and timely dissemination of information as to any changes in regulations and procedures.

Press for creation of a Help Desk where companies and individuals uncertain of how to proceed can obtain information and advice on regulations and compliance on a case by case basis.

We may get nowhere but we need to make the effort and over coming weeks we will report information we obtain in this Newsletter and make it generally available to anyone who requires it.

For example, few foreign nationals are probably aware that new provisions covering Work Permits were implemented as long ago as 2008 under which it is possible to obtain a multiple entry KITAS for periods as short as one or two months with proportionate reductions in the their cost.

The provisions also reportedly provide for the issue of a KITAS for up to two years rather than being limited to a year (bet your agent did not tell you about that one - and maybe that’s why we are yet to see such a document).

These are the kinds of issues on which we will be seeking clarification and we will try to bring you ACCURATE information as and when we can.
<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">Guess whose turn to get hammered? Immigration Blitzkrieg Continues </span></span><br /> <br /> YES, last week it was our turn to come under the attention of the team from Immigrasi.<br /> <br /> Purely a coincidence, of course, and nothing to do with the report on Immigration activities which appeared in our previous newsletter (4 February).<br /> <br /> The outcomes -<br /> Two nights locked up in the Immigration detention cell at the Batam Centre Ferry Terminal for one of our Western staff.<br /> <br /> A fine of Rp 25 million for the crime of failing to have an existing Work Permit endorsed to permit consulting work for a company other than our company (as the original sponsor). <br /> The final settlement came after three long days of interviews, statements and negotiations involving five people from two companies.<br /> <br /> Meantime, information has emerged of yet another Batu Ampar company that was called in very recently over alleged technical breaches resulting in:<br /> <br /> Payment of Rp 15 million to recover two confiscated passports needed to allow the bearers to depart Batam (apparently no actual offence was identified).<br /> <br /> Payment of Rp 80 million to get clearances for five client representatives visiting Batam in relation to a major contract. The visitors had been confined to a hotel under quasi house arrest.<br /> <br /> There also has been an unconfirmed suggestion that companies are to be required to report the arrival of foreign nationals to Immigration and pay an administration fee of Rp 1.5 million per report.<br /> <br /> In the case of our staff member the Immigration Investigation team travelled all the way down the Barelang Highway to raid a company base on the island of Galang.<br /> <br /> Needless to say our staff member was unable to produce his ORIGINAL passport and KITAS on the spot (he keeps them in the safe like everyone else). But he did so next morning and was promptly invited to the Batam Centre Immigration headquarters for questioning.<br /> <br /> Along with the Human Resources Officer of the company with whom he was consulting, he was questioned throughout the day about his role and the circumstances. Then he was asked to surrender his passport.<br /> <br /> Being aware of a previous instance in which a friend was required to pay Rp 10 million to have his passport returned, our staff member refused to surrender the document, saying that he had complied with the requirement to produce it and that the Immigration authorities were welcome to make a photocopy of any and all pages.<br /> <br /> Within minutes he was in the lock-up (a cell of about two metres by two metres), along with two Malaysian overstay detainees.<br /> <br /> The grounds for his detention - not that he had refused to surrender the passport but that he had committed an offence by failing to produce his original documents when originally approached at the Galang base.<br /> <br /> (NOTE KITAS Holders - under this interpretation to remain safe you presumably are supposed to carry your passport and original KITAS with you at all times! Otherwise you have already committed an offence warranting detention.)<br /> Our staff member has lived in Batam and held a Work Permit here continuously for some five years and never previously had any Immigration issues. He has a wife and child and a home here - any suggestion that he might be a &ldquo;flight risk&rdquo; would be ludicrous.<br /> <br /> So why lock him up?<br /> <br /> Another day, another round of statements, negotiations, waiting around and obfuscation, including production of a copy of Immigration regulations translated into English but a polite refusal to provide a copy - but with a later mention that it might be available on the Internet. (We have since located the document on the website of the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra - email douglas@bataminfo.com if you would like a copy.)<br /> <br /> Indications also that total &ldquo;fines&rdquo; could reach Rp100 million and murmurings of a potential deportation.<br /> <br /> Our submission throughout was that though there was no formal written contract between the two companies, our staff member was a long-time holder of a Work Permit and we were under the impression that this entitled him to accept a consulting role with another party. Apparently not so (BEWARE).<br /> <br /> But it emerged that there is supposedly a relatively simple procedure under which Manpower may be requested to endorse a Work Permit to allow the holder to undertake work for companies other than the original sponsor - it&rsquo;s just that nobody we know seems to know about it.<br /> <br /> The theme of this exhausting second day was &ldquo;co-operation&rdquo; with our staff member agreeing to hand over his passport on the implicit understanding that he would be released from custody pending a resumption next day.<br /> <br /> But surprise, surprise - come 5.30 and our man is hustled back to the lock-up and it&rsquo;s even too late to obtain a clearance for anyone to visit or bring requisites.<br /> <br /> The explanation - the &ldquo;Boss&rdquo; had decided he should do another night and day in the slammer because of his lack of co-operation the previous day. (Could it have been about ramping up the pressure?).<br /> <br /> From next morning another day of statements, waiting around and negotiations until finally at around 4pm the amount of the Fine necessary to &ldquo;solve the case&rdquo; is settled. A rush around to gather the cash and by around 6pm our staff member is released and all documents returned.<br /> <br /> This is necessarily a superficial account of the challenges involved in dealing with this matter and an agency that has elevated the process of using its powers to frustrate and intimidate foreign companies and nationals to an art form.<br /> The alleged offence under which the matter was handled (to justify the fine) was expressed in terms of a &ldquo;deliberate and wilful&rdquo; breach of the Immigration regulations - nothing like the reality.<br /> <br /> The Regulation cited was the catch-all Article 50 which states that:<br /> Any foreign national who deliberately and wilfully misuses his or her Immigration permit or visa or conducts activities not in accordance with the purpose for said document, shall be liable to a maximum imprisonment of 5 (five) years or a maximum fine of Rp 25,000,000 (twenty-five million Rupiahs).<br /> <br /> In a so-called Special Economic Zone where foreign investment is allegedly being encouraged, would not an appropriate response be to identify a &ldquo;technical breach&rdquo;, administer a warning or nominal fine and, more importantly, provide detailed guidance as to the Regulations and how to comply with them? <br /> <br /> Some other considerations which have emerged and of which foreign companies and nationals need to be aware:<br /> Unlike the Police, Immigration can detain you for as long as long as they like and apparently there is no appeal.<br /> <br /> If you should opt to have a matter go to Court rather than accepting a Fine you will likely be held in detention until the court hearing takes place (who knows when), you will likely lose, and Immigration will likely seek deportation (meaning you are likely blackballed for at least two years).<br /> <br /> To the best of our knowledge there is apparently no avenue of appeal against Immigration Office decisions.<br /> <br /> The implication is that to protect themselves foreign companies and nationals working in Batam MUST somehow become thoroughly familiar with the Immigration and Manpower Work Permit regulations or find someone who knows them backwards and can keep up with periodic changes in the rules.<br /> Furthermore it is unlikely that most local Human Resources staff will have the breadth of knowledge or experience to alert you to these issues or to handle them for you.<br /> <br /> To this end, together with Gary Dean of Okusi Associates, we will be seeking a meeting next week with officials of Immigration, Manpower and other agencies associated with the the Special Economic Zone administration and the Batam Foreign Investment Board to:<br /> Try to establish a process under which foreign companies and nationals can readily obtain detailed documentation in English as to key rules and Regulations and guidance as to how they may be applied.<br /> <br /> Seek arrangements for the regular and timely dissemination of information as to any changes in regulations and procedures.<br /> <br /> Press for creation of a Help Desk where companies and individuals uncertain of how to proceed can obtain information and advice on regulations and compliance on a case by case basis.<br /> <br /> We may get nowhere but we need to make the effort and over coming weeks we will report information we obtain in this Newsletter and make it generally available to anyone who requires it.<br /> <br /> For example, few foreign nationals are probably aware that new provisions covering Work Permits were implemented as long ago as 2008 under which it is possible to obtain a multiple entry KITAS for periods as short as one or two months with proportionate reductions in the their cost.<br /> <br /> The provisions also reportedly provide for the issue of a KITAS for up to two years rather than being limited to a year (bet your agent did not tell you about that one - and maybe that&rsquo;s why we are yet to see such a document).<br /> <br /> These are the kinds of issues on which we will be seeking clarification and we will try to bring you ACCURATE information as and when we can.<br />
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated
Things have gone somewaht quiet in Batam over the last few weeks with the Immigrations officials. They must have either made their quota or been pulled back do to the bad publicity...Either way i am sure they will rise again and its only a matter of time. Once the new rule for expats comes out there will probably be a madd dash on geeting very high prices for the new visa's as well. Cant wait to see what happens there. Anyone have any idea when this new rule may take affect?
Things have gone somewaht quiet in Batam over the last few weeks with the Immigrations officials. They must have either made their quota or been pulled back do to the bad publicity...Either way i am sure they will rise again and its only a matter of time. Once the new rule for expats comes out there will probably be a madd dash on geeting very high prices for the new visa's as well. Cant wait to see what happens there. Anyone have any idea when this new rule may take affect?
Max Dean

"Life is like a boat, Without water it serves no purpose"
which "new rule" for foreigner workers do you mean??
which &quot;new rule&quot; for foreigner workers do you mean??<br />
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated
For expat husbands etc....
For expat husbands etc....
Max Dean

"Life is like a boat, Without water it serves no purpose"
ah yes, that ... i'm still in a wait-and-see mode about that. the devils will be in the details, once the regulations are issued.

i think too many people have too many high hopes about this thing ... i hope i'm wrong! smile
ah yes, that ... i'm still in a wait-and-see mode about that. the devils will be in the details, once the regulations are issued. <br /> <br /> i think too many people have too many high hopes about this thing ... i hope i'm wrong! <img src="http://batamchat.com/cf/sites/default/assets/img/smileys/smile.gif" alt="smile" title="smile" height="15" width="15" />
KuKuKaChu: dangerously too sophisticated
I am sure of that also and you can guarantee that the cost will be through the roof and the line out the door. As usual there will always be some catch and or cost that is just out of this world.
I am sure of that also and you can guarantee that the cost will be through the roof and the line out the door. As usual there will always be some catch and or cost that is just out of this world.
Max Dean

"Life is like a boat, Without water it serves no purpose"
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panmin11
Here again I know this is an older OP but then again that is mostly of what exist here right now.

Has there been changes to attitudes within the ranks of the Immigration Personnel. In Jakarta things started moving fairly nicely for the Expat. Seems KPK has been hanging around the Immigration offices for part of the days and your money isn't wanted to help their coffee break needs. Somewhat faster and no asking for any extra now.

Now, if we could just get them to read the current regulations and have a bit of understanding of them.
Here again I know this is an older OP but then again that is mostly of what exist here right now. <br /> <br /> Has there been changes to attitudes within the ranks of the Immigration Personnel. In Jakarta things started moving fairly nicely for the Expat. Seems KPK has been hanging around the Immigration offices for part of the days and your money isn't wanted to help their coffee break needs. Somewhat faster and no asking for any extra now.<br /> <br /> Now, if we could just get them to read the current regulations and have a bit of understanding of them.
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