Foreign Spouses Granted More Residency Rights

Amid cheers, elation and applause, the Indonesian House of Representatives passed a new immigration law on Thursday that introduced sweeping changes for foreign spouses and children of mixed marriages.

Fahri Hamzah, deputy chairman of House Commission III overseeing legal affairs, spoke of a “breakthrough” as the gavel was banged passing the bill.

House Deputy Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso called the new law “monumental,” while Justice and Human Rights Minister Patrialis Akbar said the law was aimed at taking good care of citizens’ foreign spouses and children.

“We want to give protection to Indonesian citizens and their foreign relatives,” Patrialis said. “They are the children of Indonesia. Their [foreign] wives and husbands are part of our big family.”

The law, among other things, grants permanent residency to foreigners married to Indonesians and to their children, and allows foreign spouses to work in the country without sponsorship.

Patrialis said the law would officially become effective when ratified by the president — “30 days at the latest.”


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