Indonesia will remove Sri Lanka from its immigration red list later this month, the Laws and Human Rights Ministry of Indonesian government has said.
A ministry official has said that the economy and security of Sri Lanka had improved, allowing the Indonesian government to relax the visa arrangements for Sri Lankan citizens entering the country.
"Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be taken off [from the red list] soon," Budi Satria Wibawa, the ministry's travel documents chief, has been quoted by the Jakarata Post as saying on Monday.
The measure comes four months later than initially planned, according to the ministry official. The ministry had planned to remove the two countries from the red list.
Sri Lanka was among 13 countries Indonesia has included in its immigration red list.
Indonesia is cautious in allowing immigrants to enter the country as it fears that the number of illegal immigrants entering Indonesia for resettlement, or to migrate to Australia through the country will increase with the removal of countries from the red list.
According to Immigration Office only 10 percent of Sri Lankans entering Indonesia legally exited the country, while the remaining 90 percent could not be located, the Jakarta Post report said.
Sri Lanka along with Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Myanmar and Pakistan has been listed as a main source of refugees trying to reach Australia.
In October 2009, a group of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees en route to Australia were detained in Indonesia for months as their vessel was held up at the West Java port of Merak and the asylum seekers refused to leave the vessel and went on a hunger strike demanding them to be sent to Australia. The ordeal ended when the refugees were granted asylum in Australia six months later.