Albanians and Joko urged to fix visa system as Bali welcomes Australian tourists back

But the rise of China and growing geopolitical tensions in the region, highlighted by an incident between an RAAF plane and a Chinese fighter jet last week, will also be a focus and Albanese will also meet the general secretary from ASEAN, Dato Lim Jock Hoi, in Jakarta.

Albanese said, before leaving for Jakarta and then the regional city of Makassar, that “it is important that we recognize that Indonesia is not just Jakarta and Bali, it is a vast archipelago, it is a nation important to our north, the largest Muslim country on the planet”.

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“We announced during the election campaign additional aid for Southeast Asia. We also announced a special envoy and other measures to help our relations. My government is determined to have better relations in the Indo-Pacific region.

Shortly after becoming prime minister in 2018, Scott Morrison said his government would consider simplifying the visa system to make it easier for tourists to travel from Indonesia to Australia.

The visa issue was raised again by Joko when he visited Canberra in early 2020 and Morrison said he would reconsider the rules, but as COVID-19 has subsided and international travel has resumed, this has become apparent to travelers from the fourth largest country in the world. that nothing has changed.

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The issue was raised privately and publicly at a series of receptions in Perth last week attended by Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Siswo Pramomo and officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

the herald and age spoke to relatives of two Indonesians who have applied this year to visit Australia on tourist visas with their Australian spouses. One was still waiting after 10 weeks while the other had finally received approval after more than two months of treatment.

University of Melbourne Indonesia expert Tim Lindsey said the current visa system for Indonesians was an “extremely difficult process that most Indonesians find offensive”.

“There are so many reasons to do something about it. The government needs to do something about the visa system, our tourists get a visa on arrival, theirs don’t,” he said.

“The next thing is education, universities want to diversify away from China, Indonesia is an obvious market that we haven’t reached the penetration of that market that we should have. Fee-paying students follow scholarships, so we need to increase the number of scholarships we give as well.

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The visa application process is time-consuming, costs $140 and asks applicants if they have committed genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture or slavery, among a host of others Questions. Australian tourists get a free visa upon arrival in Indonesia.

Ross Taylor, from the Perth-based Indonesian Institute, said “if you’re from Brunei, if you live in Singapore, UK or Germany, you can just go online, apply and you can get a visa in two hours”.

In an increasingly competitive Indo-Pacific, however, and with Indonesia’s economy growing faster before the pandemic, there are renewed calls to level the playing field for Australia’s close neighbour, especially for tourists, students and workers in high demand areas such as elderly care.

Tourism Minister Uno said Australians were returning to Bali after two difficult pandemic years in which the tourism sector lost a million jobs and the country’s borders, such as Australia, had been in large part closed.

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“There is good news and other not so good. The good news is that the demand is really strong, it’s robust and there’s a lot of excitement, on both sides of Australia and Indonesia, in terms of the recovery of tourism in particular,” he said. he declares.

“The bad news is that we don’t have enough flights. We have limited seating capacity, we have airlines scrambling to provide planes. In particular, some airlines have practically focused on Perth-Denpasar, Melbourne-Denpasar and Sydney-Denpasar.

Currently, only three airlines serve the Australia-Bali route – Garuda, JetStar and Qantas – which is fewer than before the pandemic and there are far fewer flights each week according to the Bali Tourism Promotion Board.

with Karuni Rompies

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