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DHA’s Aaron Motsoaledi: Children of Immigrants Must be in School

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said every child needs to go to school.

He said when he had asked the Department of Basic Education why immigrant children were barred from school, he had been told the department was scared of Home Affairs inspectors. “That can’t happen in any modern democracy. I told them Home Affairs inspectors must not visit any schools unless there is a crime committed that needs Home Affairs. It’s more dangerous to have a child who is not in school.”

“Send them to school … We’ll look at the documentation later.”

He was speaking to GroundUp after briefing a joint meeting of the portfolio committees on Home Affairs and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs recently.

Motsoaledi told GroundUp that the three special permits which were issued to legalize the status of nationals from Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Angolans already living in South Africa, will be renewed.

“The Lesotho permit is expiring in December. I am already in the process of renewing it,” said Motsoaledi. “We can’t stop those special permits if the problems that led to those special permits are not yet resolved.

“Unfortunately the Zimbabwean permit was for four years and the situation never became normal in those four years. We will renew, but we can’t automatically as the department. We have got to discuss with the cabinet.”

“The issue of migration is not purely a problem of Home Affairs as the mayor of Johannesburg would like people to believe,” said Motsoaledi. “It talks to many government departments because it talks to economy; it talks to job creation; it talks to inequality; it talks to unemployment – all those issues cannot be resolved by one department which is called Home Affairs.”

“We have accepted long ago that our borders are porous. We have presented to Parliament before that we are going to spruce up the Border Management Authority. We want to bring that forward,” he said.

In 2009, the South African government introduced a Dispensation of Zimbabwean Permit (DZP) to legalize the many Zimbabweans already inside the country because of the political and socio-economic situation in Zimbabwe. In 2014, the DZP was renewed and renamed ZSP (Zimbabwean Special Permit), which expired in December 2017. The ZSP was replaced with the ZEP (Zimbabwe Exemption Permit), which will expire in 2021.

The ZEP entitles the holder to study or conduct employment, but does not entitle the holder to the right to apply for permanent residence, irrespective of the period of stay in South Africa.

A similar dispensation was extended to nationals from Lesotho and Angola.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

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No More Unabridged Birth Certificates Required for Minors Travelling to South Africa

SA’s tourism industry is celebrating, as the Department of Home Affairs finally made a U-turn on rules related to unabridged birth certificates for minors travelling to the country.

Home affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed in a Moneyweb Radio interview last week that unabridged birth certificates will no longer be required for foreign children travelling to South Africa.

“We have given the instruction that […] it’s no longer wanted. You don’t have to carry it, you don’t have to produce it,” he said in response to a question on the issue from Moneyweb’s SAFM Market Update business show host, Nompu Siziba.

“The argument from Home Affairs was that it was to stop child-trafficking,” added Motsoaledi. “Then we said no, no let’s not trouble tourists with this. Let’s find our own way of fighting child-trafficking, rather than using this method, which interferes with tourism.”

Motsoaledi, who was appointed home affairs minister following the general election in May, has had to deal with the issue which dates back to when Malusi Gigaba held the position.

Despite moves to relax unabridged birth certificate regulations in recent years, it has remained a thorn in the side of the tourism industry and has badly affected foreign tourist arrivals into SA since coming into effect some five years ago.

During his interview, Motsoaledi did not go into detail on how soon the controversial rule will be abolished. However, industry bosses from the Tourism Business Council of SA and the Southern African Tourism Services Association (Satsa) say an official announcement is expected as soon as this week.

TBCSA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, who was at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa and other business and government leaders last Monday, tells Moneyweb that the matter was discussed at the forum.

“We were told that unabridged birth certificate regulations will finally be abolished, and we’re delighted at the news … However, the minister needs to have written confirmation sent to the International Air Transport Association (Iata) in order for this to be effective,” he adds.

Tshivhengwa says the sooner Home Affairs and Iata meet and finalist the matter the better. “I understand that the Home Affairs Department’s Immigration Advisory Committee will be meeting on October 16, so I expect an announcement soon after that.”

“This issue has been a concern for us in the tourism industry for years and tourism operators into SA have said that they’ve been losing as much as 30% in business due to unabridged birth certificate requirements. However, the impact is likely to have been much worse if you consider would-be international tourists being turned off by this additional red-tape. They would not have bothered and chosen to go elsewhere,” he adds.

Satsa’s CEO David Frost, who has vociferously criticized the regulations from the start, hailed the government’s U-turn.

“We welcome the fact that it will finally be abolished, but it has taken too long and has done a lot of damage. It will take time for the tourism industry to fully recover from this,” he says.

“The private sector drives the tourism industry, and the government should have spoken to us before embarking on the changes five years ago. They never wanted to hear us then, but we are glad that they have finally heard us. This will be one major hurdle out of the way, but we have our work cut out for us to put SA back on the international tourism map,” he adds.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

South Africa’s New e-Visa System

South Africa will pilot its new e-visa system in the coming weeks as it aims to attract investors and people with skills that are critical to building the economy.

Speaking to BusinessTech recently, Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said that the pilot will be relatively limited to begin with as it aims to test the resilience of the system.

“The pilot will be conducted with Kenya first at the OR Tambo and Lanseria airports,” he said. “At the end of the month, we will evaluate the project and look at which other countries to expand the e-visa system to.”

Qoza added that the system is quick and has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible.

He estimated that the entire application process would take around 20 minutes, provided the applicant has all of the necessary supporting documents ready for submission.

Should one of the required documents be missing, applicants can resume the process exactly where they left off at a later date, he said.

Other changes

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi said that his department is also lowering turnaround times for critical work skills visas, which are now issued within four weeks in 88.5% of applications.

By comparison, business and general work visas are issued within eight weeks in 98% of applications, he said.

“The department has also located visa services within the offices of various investment facilitation agencies around the country.

“In addition, visa requirements have been simplified for countries such as China and India, which are key markets for tourism to South Africa,” he said.

South Africa recently waived visas for travelers from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, New Zealand, Cuba, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.

While countries such as Qatar and Ghana already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa, it would be considered a serious boon if South Africans could travel visa-free to countries such as the UAE and New Zealand.

Home Affairs said it was currently in talks with these countries on two main issues.

“We have entered negotiations with these countries with the first priority being an implementation date for visa-free access to South Africa,” it said.

“Once this has been confirmed, our second priority is reciprocity.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

SA President Visits Home Affairs Head Office

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the Home Affairs head office in Tshwane recently, as part of his commitment to promote good governance and professionalism in the public sector. Click here to view the video.

On the back of bilateral talks with Nigeria, the President visited a Department of Home Affairs to ensure that asylum seekers were treated properly.

The department had been accused of being slow to issue asylum or other documentation, forcing foreign nationals to live as illegals.

Ramaphosa addressed staff and senior managers at Home Affairs in Tshwane.

“We are about to demonstrate to South Africans and the world that Home Affairs is at that top-level when we introduce the e-visa system which is world-class by any means that you can describe. But at the same time, the people of our country and the rest of the world will be expecting Home Affairs to continue to push the boundaries and push the limits and demonstrate that it can do even better than what we are doing now,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa met with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday during a state visit.

The presidents of the continent’s two biggest economies reached 32 bilateral agreements following the gathering.

While Ramaphosa said that the recent xenophobic violence did not represent the values of either country, Buhari urged his citizens living in South Africa to adhere to the law.

Ramaphosa said South Africa and Nigeria agreed to elevate their co-operation to presidential level to revive relations that were battered by the recent violence.

Flight expenditure for undocumented migrants

Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi confirmed that R8 956 713.41 has been spent on charter flights and/or airlines by his department to deport undocumented migrants for the period April 1 to August 31 this year.

The minister made the revelations in a parliamentary reply to a question asked by DA MP Joseph McGluwa.

McGluwa asked Motsoaledi about the details of the charter flights and airlines as well as the total amount paid in respect of the deportations in both the 2018/19 financial year and since the start of April this year.

For the 2018 to 2019 financial year, R33 070 629.90 was spent on flights for the deportation of undocumented migrants.

DA MP Adrian Roos asked Motsoaledi whether he would engage with the executive mayors of metropolitan municipalities to conduct raids to combat illegal immigration.

To this, the minister replied that he “… has engaged with municipal structures on matters of migration and will do so on a continuous basis”.

“Joint and special operations to combat illegal migration are planned and conducted by law enforcement agencies at national, provincial and local level through inter-governmental security structures. All metro municipalities are represented in local security, provincial and national structures such as the provincial joint operational structures and the national structure,” Motsoaledi added.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Visa Changes Coming to South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs is working on a number of changes to South Africa’s visa regime, in an effort to make the country more accessible for visitors, investors and people with skills that are critical to building the economy.

Presenting at the monthly Presidential Working Committee on Monday (7 October), Home Affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said that his department has lowered turnaround times for critical work skills visas, which are now issued within four weeks in 88.5% of applications.

By comparison, business and general work visas are issued within eight weeks in 98% of applications.

“In November, the Department of Home Affairs will embark on a pilot scheme for the issuing of e-visas, which applicants will be able to access online, eliminating the need for applicants to visit South African missions abroad.

“The department has also located visa services within the offices of various investment facilitation agencies around the country.

“In addition, visa requirements have been simplified for countries such as China and India, which are key markets for tourism to South Africa,” he said.

New countries can now visit South Africa visa-free

Motsoaledi added that the government also recently waived visas for travelers from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, New Zealand, Cuba, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.

In July, a spokesperson told BusinessTech that the Department of Home Affairs will also enter into talks with their counterparts in a number of countries to allow visa-free access for South African travelers.

While countries such as Qatar and Ghana already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa, it would be considered a serious boon if South Africans could travel visa-free to countries such as the UAE and New Zealand.

Department spokesperson Siya Qoza said that Home Affairs was currently in talks with these countries on two main issues.

“We have entered negotiations with these countries with the first priority being an implementation date for visa-free access to South Africa.

“Once this has been confirmed, our second priority is reciprocity.”

Qoza said that initial conversations held with these countries have been positive, with talks expected to be concluded by September.

He added that Home Affairs may expand these negotiations to other countries.

“We are consistently looking at which countries would be of a trade and tourism benefit to South Africa,” he said.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].