Over the previous two years, Indonesia has vastly expanded its program of giving tourists from certain countries the ability to enter the country without having to pay for a 30-day tourist visa, with a decree signed into law by Jokowi in March bringing the number of ‘visa-free’ countries to 169. The goal was to increase the amount of tourists (and their money) coming to Indonesia, but a growing paranoia about foreigners coming here to work illegally (especially Chinese citizens) has led the government to reconsider the policy.
According to Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan (who was formerly the coordinating minister of political, legal, and security affairs), the policy has been reconsidered and Indonesia has already decided it will take away the visa-free tourism benefits from some countries.
“There are already [some countries we’ve decided on] but it’s too early for me to say. Later the Immigration Directorate and others will conduct an evaluation.” Luhut said yesterday as quoted by Tempo.
Luhut said that the government was evaluating the policy based on how much it was helping tourism versus how many legal violations were being made by foreigners from certain countries, particularly those who were overstaying their visas to work illegally in Indonesia.
The minister was almost certainly alluding to China. Indonesia has recently seen a number of social media hoaxes warning that 10 million illegal Chinese workers were in Indonesia a recent arrest of 76 Chinese women who were allegedly working at a nightclub in Jakarta has led further fuel to the foreign worker paranoia.