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Will Indonesia waive visas for Aussies? Don’t bet on it

March 19, 2015 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Plans by Indonesia to waive visa requirements for Aussie holidaymakers heading to Bali and other points have been put on hold.

Last November, Indonesia’s tourism minister said the government might scrap the USD 35 (AUD 43) fee for citizens of Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

That proposal seems to be receding. So far, the ruling applies only to Japan. http://join.travelmanagers.com.au/

Yesterday, Indonesia confirmed that Australia would be excluded from a list of 45 countries to be offered visa-free travel, Airwise.com reported.

Indonesian Tourism Minister Arif Yahya told reporters that while the Indonesian government would from next month start waiving visas for citizens of several Asian and European countries, the same policy would not be extended to Australia.

The announcement comes amid tensions over the imminent execution of two convicted Australian drug traffickers, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Yahya denied that executions had anything to do with the visa decision. He said it was all about reciprocity – if Indonesia extended visa-free travel to Australians, Australia should extend the same courtesy to Indonesian citizens visiting Australia.

Australia doesn’t do that.

All travellers who are not Australian citizens need to obtain a valid visa or authority to enter Australia  – even if it’s a barely perceptible electronic transaction at the border, as with New Zealanders entering Australia.

Indonesia, meanwhile, is standing firm on the executions, saying visitors to Indonesia must respect its laws. Heroin trafficking carries the death penalty in Indonesia. Latest reports suggest that the executions of Chan and Sukumaran may be delayed by weeks or months as Indonesia hears appeals from them and from other drug traffickers scheduled to face the firing squad at the same time.

Other countries to have the death penalty (though not necessarily for drug trafficking) include the US, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and China.

Australia, New Zealand, Canada and European Union countries do not have the death penalty.

Written by : Peter Needham

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