Extended Visitor Visa – South African Immigration

The new long-term Port of Entry Visa may be issued valid for any period up to two or three years to allow for multiple stays of up to 90 consecutive days at a time or any lesser period as determined by the issuing South African Mission, at its discretion. This implies that frequent business visitors will now only be required to apply for a visas once every two or three years, as the case may be.

This does, however, not apply to first-time visa applicants. A foreign national must first establish themselves as a bona-fide traveller (by complying with the conditions of the first visa issued to them). In addition, South African Missions have been instructed to check the foreign national’s passport to determine whether they are, in fact, a frequent traveller (by checking for visas for other countries). The extended visa will not be issued in all instances. This visa will also not provide for short-term work activities for which an authorization in terms of Section 11(2) of the Immigration Act is required.  For more information please contact tracy@relocationafrica.com or call us on 021 7634240.

Southern Africa lags in global visa openness – report 21 Jan 2016

Southern Africa’s visa openness registered 29%, compared with a global average of 39%, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Visa Openness Report. The figure indicates the percentage of the world’s population that can travel to a destination without obtaining a traditional visa prior to departure. At present, 71% of the world’s population require a visa prior to travelling to Southern Africa.

The UNWTO report stated that emerging economies continued to be more open compared with advanced economies: South-East Asia recorded an openness score of 51%; East Africa, 48%; and the Caribbean and Oceania recorded 43%. The most restrictive sub-regions include Central Africa at 5%; North Africa at 16%; and North America 15%. The Americas recorded an openness score of 37%, while Europe recorded 24%.

David Frost, SATSA CEO, said South Africa should improve its visa regime and look to develop reciprocal relationships with countries. “South Africa must also credit travellers who have been through more rigorous visa processes, such as applying for and receiving a US or Schengen visa, and allow those travellers in more easily.”

Ross Kennedy, Chief Executive at Africa Albida Tourism, and Onne Vegter, Director at Wild Wings Safaris, said there was huge potential for African countries to advance travel facilitation as a means to promote tourism. Vegter said South Africa especially could benefit greatly from visa openness. He argues that an open visa policy would allow more economic growth and job creation as a result of increased tourism from key source markets.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, argued that security challenges should not be a deterrent to advancing visa facilitation. “On the contrary, enhancing security and facilitating tourism travel should always go hand in hand.” Vegter echoed this sentiment. “Even though security is important and illegal immigration remains a valid concern, a rigid or unnecessarily harsh visa policy does far more harm than good,” he said.

Frost agreed and said visas were an impediment to tourists and the more South Africa could do to reduce this, the better. He added that South Africa could learn from India. Even though the country had fallen victim to terror attacks, India had opened its borders by implementing an eVisa programme and was creating visas on arrival for about 32 countries.

Other Southern African countries appear to be making strides towards visa openness. Kennedy said the arrival of the KAZA UniVisa, which could later become an SADC UniVisa, would create positive, user-friendly engagement with travellers to Southern Africa.

“In Zimbabwe, we are aware that government is reviewing its visa regime, whereby it is hoped that a number of countries requiring a visa on arrival will be reviewed to ‘no visa required’ and further countries requiring a visa prior to travel will be moved to ‘visas on arrival’,” said Kennedy.

– See more at: http://www.tourismupdate.co.za/Home/Detail?articleId=105640#sthash.0jPm8soN.tMwZbfqU.dpuf

Thousands of foreign entrepreneurs would flock into South Africa – if only they could.

Tracy du Plessis from Relocation Africa was interviewed by The Times for comment


Mudslinging between government and immigration firms over bureaucracy and alleged profiteering are hindering the influx of immigrants, many of whom have critical skills.

The alleged blocking of immigrants must be balanced with the , country’s interests, the government says.

The immigration policies imposed by the South African government at the end of 2014 have drawn sharp criticism. But the government says it is targeting dodgy immigration lawyers.

For years immigration firms have cried foul over issues, such as immigrants wanting to open businesses in South Africa having to have R5-million and 60% of their staff having to be South Africans.

They are also upset about the department’s critical skills visa list.

Tracy du Plessis, Forum of Immigration Practitioners vice-chairman, said the 2014 amended Immigration Act made it difficult for foreign nationals to work in the country.

There is no communication on recommendations for a business visa applicant until after the application is made.

“The department’s reasoning is to stop fraud,” Du Plessis said.

Immigration expert Leon Isaacson of Global Migration SA said there were inconsistencies in processing visas, especially critical skills visas.

“The list was drawn up in haste. Professions, such as maths and science teachers, which the country has a 60000 to 80000 shortfall of, are not included.”

Bjorn van Niekerk, Integrated-Immigration director, said sections of the immigration legislation needed reviewing.

“There are serious barriers, including the massive increase in incorrect adjudications and baseless rejections.”

Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete said “middle-men” were misinterpreting policies aimed at assisting immigrants.

“There is a lot of corruption. We have lawyers under investigation. In the past people came to establish phantom companies, sometimes to launder money. We had to change our policies.”

  • Thousands of South Africans living in the UK face deportation. In April, the UK is set to pass an immigration regulation affecting millions of non-EU state immigrants. Those affected are likely to be semi-skilled workers earning annually less than £3,5000.

http://www.timeslive.co.za/thetimes/2016/01/25/Stop-block-on-foreigners

Machine Readable passports – Re-entry to South Africa


 

To comply with regulation 2(1)(a) of the Immigration Regulations, 2014 only MACHINE READABLE TRAVEL DOCUMENTS (MRTDs) will be accepted to enter South Africa with effect from 24 November 2015.


 

In the case of a bona fide emergency situation, travellers utilising issued Emergency Travel Documents will be allowed to enter and depart from South Africa.

Travellers who entered South Africa before 24 November 2015 on non-MRTDs will be allowed to depart and return to their countries of origin or residence.

Travellers who entered South Africa with a MRTD and lost it will be allowed to depart with Emergency Travel Documents.

PLEASE NOTE THAT:

Machine readable passports that have been extended are not accepted!

 

 

Home Affairs drowning in legal claims – South African Immigration

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) – 12 Dec 2015

A HOME Affairs legal officer in Pretoria has pleaded with the Western Cape High Court for mercy, saying she was “mortified” when she read a judgment handed down recently which described the department as dysfunctional and threatened to refer it to the public protector.

The senior legal administration officer, Yvonne Banyamme Seboga, has accepted full responsibility for the manner in which the matter, which led to the scathing judgment, was dealt with.

She blamed her oversight on a heavy workload and severely underresourced litigation unit.

The judgment stemmed from an application lodged against the department and refugee authorities by Kennedy Tshiyombo, who fled violence in the DRC nearly 10 years ago.

Tshiyombo received an asylum seeker permit which was renewed from time to time and he was asked to complete a fresh application for refugee status in October 2008.

But his application was rejected as unfounded days later and a later appeal to the Refugee Appeal Board was also dismissed.

He turned to the High Court, asking it to review and set aside the decisions.

Department officials, however, failed to file the administrative record of the case, which led to delays and to the matter eventually coming to a standstill.

Judge Ashley Binns-Ward delivered a judgment in the matter last month, saying it was plain there was a “systematic dysfunctionality” in the relevant branch of the department which had resulted in its persistent failure or inability to comply with its legal obligations in matters in which its decisions were taken on judicial review.

He said there had been undertakings that the problems would be addressed, “all to no effect thus far”.

Judge Binns- Ward gave the department and refugee authorities until last Thursday to show cause why they should not be held personally liable for the additional costs Tshiyombo incurred.

In addition, they were ordered to explain why he should not refer the matter to the public protector for investigation.

In response, the department filed Seboga’s affidavit in which she said she was to blame for the manner in which Tshiyombo’s case was handled.

She said the number of court cases lodged against the department had increased significantly while the number of staff members had nearly halved.

In 2012 more than 1 800 cases were served on the department. That figure had increased steadily to 2 056 served on the department in 2013, 2 358 in 2014, and 2 435 this year.

The increased number of cases had an adverse impact on the morale of staff members and led to the resignation of two junior legal administration officers, according to Seboga.

Seboga said the department was however in the process of appointing 10 legal administration interns, with the appointments to be made by January 1r.

Judge Binns-Ward has reserved judgment in the matter.