Foreigners queuing to request for an extended stay permit at the Ngurah Rai Immigration Office in Badung, Bali, on Monday. (Antara Photo/Nyoman Hendra Wibowo)
Repatriating Britons a Priority: UK Ambassador
BY :DIANA MARISKA
MARCH 26, 2020
Jakarta. The British Embassy in Jakarta said it has been taking steps, including working in close cooperation with local authorities, to ensure British citizens in Indonesia can return home despite many flights out of Indonesia being canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UK ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Owen Jenkins, said it is now the main priority of the embassy to help with the repatriation of Britons in Indonesia, particularly holidaymakers who are now stranded in Bali,
"All of us here at the embassy and in our consulate in Bali are doing everything we can to help [those Britons] get home. All hands are on deck, and I have instructed every member of my staff to drop everything else," Jenkins said in a video on Wednesday.
Maintaining communication with airlines is one of the embassy's priorities as more and more flights are being canceled.
"We're in touch with more than ten airlines, we're pressing them to keep flying and to add more capacity. We're in talks about reinstating flights and adding new ones. It does take more time than you would like – or we would like – but I want you to know that we are on this," Jenkins said.
He also encouraged people to keep contacting airlines directly to convince them that there is a demand to keep flights going.
The embassy is collecting as much information as possible on Britons still in Indonesia. Ambassador Jenkins called for people who had not contacted the embassy to reach out immediately. He told them to contact the embassy's social media accounts for faster response.
Jenkins also revealed that the embassy had been communicating and cooperating with the Directorate General of Immigration.
He confirmed that Britons who have overstayed their visa would not be fined.
"We've helped ensure that anyone who is overstaying their visa because of corona-related disruption doesn't have a problem with immigration. We worked alongside our colleagues in the Indonesian Directorate General of Immigration and are extremely grateful for their help, and for their agreement that people should not be fined for overstaying their visa when they couldn't leave," Jenkins said.
The Directorate General of Immigration has issued a policy to waive fines on foreign nationals who overstay their visa as long as they entered Indonesia after Feb. 5.
Meanwhile, those who came before Feb. 5 must present themselves to the Immigration Office to request an extended stay permit.
Currently, the embassy is still working on getting the exact number of Britons left in Indonesia – both the ones that reside in the country and people on short-term trips.
Ambassador Jenkins said the embassy would continue to share information on its effort to repatriate the Britons.
Lithuanian Embassy Repatriates 202 Europeans
Flight cancellations caused by the pandemic has also stopped other foreign nationals in Indonesia, including more than a hundred Lithuanians and other European holidaymakers in Bali, from flying back home.
In response, the Lithuanian Embassy to Asia-Pacific in Japan, in cooperation with the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Lithuania in Indonesia, has chartered a flight to bring them home.
A statement received by the Jakarta Globe revealed that 111 Lithuanians, 41 Spaniards, 29 Latvians, 20 Estonians and a Hungarian were flown back to Europe on Tuesday.
They left from Denpasar, Bali, with a chartered aircraft from Lithuanian Avion Express.