Diaspora Visa

The government has recently issued a new visa to make it easier for former Indonesian citizens to visit the country and to stay longer, as part of its moves to bring emigrants home and to utilize their skills to help build the nation. Members of the Indonesian diaspora, especially those who have lost their citizenship, welcomed the new visa allowing them to return to their homeland more easily, while pointing out that the requirements were rather stringent. The diaspora visa, introduced by the Immigration Directorate General on Thursday, grants an immediate permit to stay in the country for five or 10 years for former Indonesian citizens. The new visa will streamline the permit process, which usually requires applicants to secure a guarantor. Immigration Director General Silmy Karim said the visa was part of the government’s effort to “support the country’s economy.” “Members of the Indonesian diaspora who want to contribute to the country have been hindered by the absence of policies needed to facilitate [their return to the homeland],” Silmy said in a statement on Thursday. To apply for the visa, the applicant must fulfill several requirements, including submitting proof of living expenses and a statement of commitment through the purchase of government bonds, shares or mutual funds in Indonesian public companies or savings worth US$35,000. The statement of commitment can be submitted within 90 days after arrival in Indonesia. Around 6 million Indonesian citizens and former citizens are spread across more than 60 countries according to IDN Global. The government’s data show the countries with the highest concentration of Indonesians are Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands and the United States.