An obvious spike is seen on the number of Iranian asylum seekers arriving in Australia. Most of them reach Australia by boat after they transit in Indonesia. Thus, Indonesia is now going to tighten the visa restrictions against Iran, playing a role in conjunction with Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd’s new asylum seeker policy.
According to the Indonesian correspondent, Helen Brown, an official brought out that they are aware of the huge number of Iranians make use of Indonesia’s Visa On Arrival system and it has since been a concern. One of the first stops for Iranian asylum seekers before setting foot in Australia is the Jakarta International Airport. From there, they then obtain a VOA and continue their journey to Australia.
But now, things are going to change as a letter to prevent Iranians from obtaining a VOA was signed by the Indonesian justice minister, Amir Syamsuddin. Three out of every 20 asylum-seekers who arrived to Australia were from Iran in year 2012. That figure has risen significantly to almost seven in 20 in this year. The rising number lead to Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carrrecently believing that the majority of Iranian asylum seekers were actually seeking economic opportunity instead of fleeing persecution.
Do note that the VOA restrictions is going to be applied against Iranians and Iranians only but this is not set in stone yet as the official date of the implementation has yet to be confirmed. There will be no change to other eligible nationals so they can still apply for an Indonesian VOA at an affordable rate of 25USD with a validity of 30 days. When applying for one, please ensure that applicant's passport must have a validity of at least 6 months along with a return/onward ticket to ensure.