A Word About Visa Sponsorship Fees

With considerable frequency, discussions come up on this forum relating to the range, level and disparity one can encounter with various visa agents who also act as the applicant’s sponsor.  Often it is commented that their fees are too high…after all, the agent is merely handling paperwork and including their name as sponsor, so why the high charge?

Often overlooked, or simply not understood, is the fact that sponsors have legal responsibility for those they sponsor for visas, and that even includes private Indonesian  citizens who decide to sponsor a foreigner for a social/cultural visit visa.  That legal responsibility can run from being held liable for unpaid bills of the sponsored foreigner, right up to criminal liability for crimes conducted by that person.

The later, and potentially far more serious liability of a sponsor just recently came to light with the events that unfolded in Canggu, Bali earlier this week.  In that event a French national killed a Balinese police officer, stabbing him eight times before he himself was brought down in a hail of police gunfire.  As it was, that French national was not under a sponsored visa, rather he was under a tourist visa, albeit expired as of last September.  However, had that person been under a sponsored visa, and now dead himself, his sponsor would be sitting in jail as I type. 

As already mentioned, the range of the total fees for handling visa applications and taking on sponsorship varies considerably from agent to agent.  So, shopping around is advisable to be certain.  However, one can improve their chances of getting a somewhat reduced fee by taking a few simple steps like dressing nicely when calling on your agent, and presenting yourself with good manners and polite demeanor.   

Just from my lunch time discussions earlier today, I know that some visa agents on Bali are taking time to rethink and reconsider who they agree to sponsor.

Your position is quite interesting, and raises what could be a valid reason for high fees.
That in mind, do you think the agents charge higher fees for greater risk? Perhaps they charge less for a nice old lady pensioner than they would some guy who looks like he could be trouble.
In other words, if they see a potential for problems with their client, do they up the price for that person, or possibly just refuse their business?

Also, have any agents ever found themselves in trouble if their expat breaks the law?

I'd be quite interested in any links you might have to news stories about any such cases as I have absolutely no idea, and dislike my ignorance on the subject.

Most agents pretty much tend to charge the same across the board for the majority of their clients, but not in every situation.  And, I don’t think many agents will refuse business unless the applicant is really out of line…arrives drunk, is abusive in discussion, dresses like a bum or has already acquired a reputation for being a trouble maker. 

Yes, there are stories I’ve heard (from reliable sources) of visa agents being called to task for the activities of someone they sponsored…but, by in large, here in Bali anyway…most all cases of Balinese police being involved with Balinese locals of good standing just don’t make it to the papers.  An extraordinary event, like the recent one in Canggu…had it also involved a visa agent who sponsored that Frenchman…most certainly yes, that would have made the papers.   

As with all Provinces of Indonesia, the vast majority of the police are locals.  Balinese police are very much in tune with face, reputation, family honor and such, and I’ve personally seen this in action for myself.  In other words, the matter is handled as discretely as possible.  The locals will of course know what’s going on, but that’s about all.  In Jakarta…who knows?

Upon asking some agents, emphasise the word some, they do discriminate higher fees when:
~ coming from specific countries
~ gender as woman seen as higher risk too

However it would only meant a difference of 500k or 1 milliion. And not untold millions.
Ultimately it is the immigration office that determine the approvals. The rate of approvals in Indonesia is high. Compared if you apply to Australia, visitors short term or long term might get rejection or considerable length of time to process.

In Indonesia, it normally takes within a month. Fast in comparison.

Actually here in Bali, a woman is more likely to get charged less, as they are seen as a much lower risk.  But, I can see why in Jakarta they might be charged more, without getting too specific.   ;)

But what you say about coming from some particular foreign countries is something I've heard over here as well. 

"Ultimately it is the immigration office that determine the approvals."

True enough, but try to get a refund from a visa agent if immigration turns down the application.   :D

In Jakarta, we pay nothing until everything comes back.
The agents are well reputable. The key is always agents. If you trust the wrong agent... I dont see how you would trust a complete stranger your most precious documents.

"In Jakarta, we pay nothing until everything comes back."

And if the application comes back rejected...there is no charge?

That doesn't sound like good business to me! 

The custom here (and it's sound business as well) is to pay upfront for initial application via an agent, but later renewals are generally paid after the fact. 

Anyway, it's truly wonderful to hear that all the agents in Jakarta are all "well reputable."   ;)

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