Aussies in Bali to be sent packing

 

 

Thousands of Australians will be sent packing from Bali as the COVID-19 State of Emergency Stay Permit expires.

Australians who decided to sit the pandemic out of the island paradise, along with long term expats and business owners, have to end their three month tropical hiatus by August 9.

In March Indonesia declared a State of Emergency and Immigration in Bali issued free automatic Emergency Stay Permits to tourist visa holders until further notice. But that notice is up and permit holders have 30 days to get out.

"The party is over guys. It's time to take care of your visa extension or find a flight within 30 days," said local visa agent Eko Hariyanto.

There are about 3000 Australian tourists and 7000 expats that remained in Indonesia during the lockdown.

Bali's free Visa on Arrival (VOA), which forbids any extension, is the most popular visa among Aussie holiday makers while those who stay longer buy a tourist visa that can secure 60 days on the island.

"The Automatic Emergency Stay Visa is valid for 30 days from 10 July 2020. The VOA cannot be extended and they (Australians) have to leave Indonesia," said Mr Eko Budianto of Bali's regional Immigration division.

He warned that Indonesia's usual immigration regulations and penalties are back in action including the $100 a day overstay fee that must be paid in cash on departure.

However, if a tourist can prove that no flights are available to return to their home country, they will be offered an exceptional extension on the VOA.

On Thursday Bali's beaches and business reopened on Thursday to the 'new normal' with local tourism first to resume.

The shock announcement comes at a time when Prime Minister Scot Morrison has slashed the

number of citizens and residents that are allowed to arrive in Australia to 4,000 people a week from an average of 8,000.

 

Bali Tourism Police patrol around Kuta and Legian street during the Corona pandemic. Picture. Lukman S. Bintoro
Bali Tourism Police patrol around Kuta and Legian street during the Corona pandemic. Picture. Lukman S. Bintoro

 

Foot dragging jetsetters may also be faced with covering their own cost of hotel quarantine for 14 days upon arrival - an expense met by taxpayers for the past three months.

The shunning of new arrivals is meant to ease pressure on state governments and to free resources to divert to managing the second Melbourne lockdown.

In the past month more than 28,000 Aussies have returned home - most arriving in New South Wales. More than 200,000 Aussie have landed home since the crisis started in March.

Aussies on the island, which has 2,110 reported cases of the virus and 26 deaths, have had plenty of notice to leave and access to regular flights.

In March the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade urged Australians to leave Indonesia

immediately with a Level Four 'Do Not Travel' warning.

Popular 'visa run' destinations like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Thailand - where Aussies spend a night or two before returning to Bali on a fresh tourist visa - are closed to tourism putting more pressure on Australians to go home.

Originally published as Aussies in Bali to be sent packing



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