Indonesia Requires Swab Tests for Foreigners Arriving at Soekarno-Hatta Airport
By Zulfikar D. Winarno
In an effort to help restore the national economy, the Indonesian Government, through the issuance of Director General of Immigration Letter No. IMI-UM.01.01-4047 (August 14, 2020), has relaxed the restrictions on the movement of foreigners into Indonesia, especially for expert foreign expatriates and heads of companies for the purpose of capital investment (hereinafter collectively referred to as \"Foreigners‚Äù).
Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, the Government will continue to apply certain preventive measures aimed at stopping the further spread of the virus from the entry of such Foreigners. The Head of the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal or \"BKPM‚Äù) recently issued Decree No. 185 of 2020 regarding Mitigation of the Spread of COVID-19 for Expert Foreign Expatriates and Heads of Companies for the Purpose of Capital Investment (August 24, 2020) (\"BKPM Decree 185/2020‚Äù).
While BKPM Decree 185/2020 was enacted to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 through the entry of Foreigners to Indonesia, it must be noted that this decree seems to be applicable only to those Foreigners whose entry is supported by a Supporting Letter issued by the BKPM pursuant to the procedures set forth in its Announcement No. 8/PENGUMUMAN/A.5/2020 regarding the Flow of Applications Issued to Support Visits by Representatives of Foreign Investment Companies (PMA) and/or Expert Foreign Expatriates during the COVID-19 Period (June 11,2020).
BKPM Decree 185/2020 was issued to ensure that Foreigners do not carry the COVID-19 virus before allowing them to continue on to their respective work locations. The following are the procedures stipulated under BKPM Decree 185/2020:
- Companies that intend to bring in Foreigners must report the arrival dates of the concerned Foreigners to the BKPM in accordance with the Supporting Letter for the Utilization of Expert Foreign Expatriates and/or Heads of Companies.
- Following their arrival at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, the Foreigners are to immediately take a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) swab test.
- While waiting for the test results, the Foreigners shall self-isolate at a hotel pre-determined by the BKPM.
- Foreigners with a positive/reactive swab test will be required to undergo further self-isolation/treatment at a hotel/hospital pre-determined by the BKPM until subsequent testing shows a negative result.
- Foreigners with a negative swab test will be allowed to continue on to their respective destinations.
BKPM Decree 185/2020 does not revoke any other pre-existing policy and/or regulation. Therefore, all other relevant obligations prior to entering Indonesia, including the obligation to present a health certificate that is effective for seven days pursuant to Minister of Health protocols, are still applicable despite of the swab testing requirement under BKPM Decree 185/2020.
In addition, it remains to be seen how the above policy under BKPM Decree 185/2020 will be implemented in practice, e.g. whether the swab test at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is free of charge, as neither the BKPM nor any other relevant government institution has issued further implementing guidelines. As such, this will be subject to further confirmation by the BKPM and/or port health authorities at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. (August 28, 2020)
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