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South African Home Affairs Implements Visa Waivers for Top Tourist Countries

The Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi is pleased to announce that nationals from four of the seven countries he granted visa-free status during his Budget Vote speech will be able to travel to South Africa without visas from today.

He said the Department would implement visa waivers for Ghana, Cuba and Principe and Sao Tome after negotiations with these countries have been concluded. The Department is scheduled to complete these negotiations by the end of August 2019 and the implementation will follow soon thereafter.
“As from today, 15 August 2019, travelers from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand will no longer require a visa to visit South Africa for holidays, conferencing and business meeting visits. We took this decision unilaterally but we are engaging these countries to see how they can relax entry requirements for our citizens. I am glad to say that Qatar has already waived visa requirements for South Africans and this will enable our people to attend Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 easier,” said Minister Motsoaledi.

The Department of Home Affairs is continuously reviewing its operations to contribute in growing the economy, facilitating the creation of jobs and securing our borders.

“The Department of Home Affairs has an important contribution to make in growing tourism and by extension growing the economy and creating jobs. We are constantly reviewing our operations to ensure that we relax entry requirements without compromising our responsibility towards the safety and security of our citizens,” said Motsoaledi.

Already, South Africa has waived the visa requirement for 82 of the 193 countries who are members of the United Nations. Eighteen of the countries enjoying a visa free status in South Africa are on the continent with all Southern African Development Community countries enjoying this status, except for the Democratic Republic of Congo.

These countries which are enjoying the visa free status are among the nations which account for the majority of the international tourist sending states on the continent, Europe and the Americas.

“The Department has already sent directives to ports of entry, airlines and our missions abroad informing them of the removal of visa requirements for nationals of these countries who wish to visit our beautiful country for tourism or business meetings,” said Minister Motsoaledi.

 

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: SA Department of Home Affairs [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

SA Home Affairs Watchdog Launches Twitter Account to Talk Directly to Customers

The Home Affairs Portfolio Committee has launched a twitter account to play watchdog to strengthen its oversight work.

Parliamentary Communication Services Malatswa Molepo said @PConHomeAffairs was “intended to bridge the communication gap between the committee and the customers of the department”.

Advocate Bongani Bongo, the Chairperson of the committee said if the committee was to enhance service delivery to the required standard, it had to be willing to adapt to changes to the environment in which it operated.

“Social media presents an opportunity for instantaneous communication with the public, and will assist in providing first-hand information about their daily experiences at Home Affairs offices,” Bongo said.

Molepo said the committee viewed effective oversight as a precursor to efficient service delivery.

“Furthermore, effective oversight requires that a variety of voices are heard in order to achieve a balance of views.”

The committee pleaded with customers not to only highlight the negatives, however, note those departmental working optimally and improving service delivery.

The committee said it intends to use issues raised on the platform as a basis for its oversight over the department.

“The department will also be required, from time to time, to respond directly on issues raised on the platform.”

 

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].

Tourism in South Africa: Where Are Our Visitors Coming From?

The researchers for StatsSA have been busy crunching the numbers again this month, and they’ve detailed a comprehensive picture of all the visitors to South Africa between May 2018 and May 2019. Overall, it’s good news for tourism in South Africa – foreign arrivals are up by 1.5% within the recorded 12-month period.

Despite reported struggles and increased regional competition, South Africa has remained an attractive destination for international visitors. More than 1.2 million foreign nationals set foot in SA over the past year, and plenty of our fellow countrymen and women have been on the move too: Over 896,000 of us traveled across our borders in the past year.

The South African has broken some of the major statistics down to determine who exactly is coming to visit South Africa, and who are most recurring visitors are.

Tourism in South Africa: Most popular overseas visitors
(Tourists from these ten countries constituted 75.5% of all tourists from overseas countries).

  1. United States of America: 35 699 (21.5%)
  2. United Kingdom: 21 834 (13.1%)
  3. India: 13 238 (8.0%)
  4. Germany: 11 827 (7.1%)
  5. France: 11 142 (6.7%)
  6. Australia: 8 825 (5.3%)
  7. China: 7 259 (4.4%)
  8. The Netherlands: 5 782 (3.5%)
  9. Brazil: 5 149 (3.1%)
  10. Canada: 4 771 (2.9%)

A comparison of movements in the ten leading overseas countries between May 2018 and May 2019 shows that the number of tourists decreased for four of ten leading countries, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Brazil. But the picture was pretty rosy elsewhere

The UK, for example, experienced the largest increase of visitors to South Africa (up by 6.5%), followed closely by China with an increase of 6.3%. The US also saw their visitor numbers increase by more than 5%.

Tourism in South Africa: Most popular African visitors
(Virtually all tourists from Africa – 97.9% – came from the SADC countries).

  1. Zimbabwe: 168 046 (29.3%)
  2. Lesotho: 121 426 (21.2%)
  3. Mozambique: 106 341 (18.5%)
  4. Swaziland: 75 161 (13.1%)
  5. Botswana: 51 668 (9.0%)
  6. Namibia: 14 682 (2.6%)
  7. Malawi: 12 853 (2.2%)
  8. Zambia: 11 527 (2.0%)
  9. Angola: 5 090 (0.9%)
  10. Nigeria: 3 597 (0.7%)

Who is visiting South Africa?

In total, the number of tourists increased for five of the ten leading countries (Botswana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Angola), and decreased for the other five (Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi and Mozambique). Botswana showed the largest increase (15.2%), while Zambia showed the largest decrease (15.8%).

So, we know where people are coming from, but do we actually know the type of people that are most likely to come and visit South Africa? StatsSA also provided information on the demographics of travelers visiting South Africa. Their findings conclude the following:

  • 56.2% of tourists were male and 43.8% of them were female.
  • It’s the millennials and the mid-lifers who are propping up tourism in South Africa: The majority of tourists were aged between 35 and 44 years (29.4%), followed closely by the age group 25 to 34 years (27.9%).
  • Of all our foreign visitors, 97% of them came purely for a holiday: 2.4% traveled on business, with 0.5% of them coming here to study. Around one in a thousand travelers come to South Africa for medical treatment.
  • Just two people managed to make the journey from St Helena to South Africa – in an entire year!

 

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 Home Affairs Update: Change of Status Revision; Reciprocal Travel Visa Revision

The South African government has recently announced two immigration- and visitor-related changes.

Change of Status

Foreigners who are spouses or children of South African citizens or permanent residents may now apply for change of status/condition from within the country, if they are currently in SA on normal visitors visas, without first applying for waivers.

Reciprocal Visa

At the Budget Vote 2019, the SA Minister of Home Affairs announced a new list of countries on South Africa’s visa-free list. The additions, to boost tourism, include Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Ghana, Sao Tome and Principe, and New Zealand.

 

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].

Plans for South Africa’s New e-Visa System

A new digital system for visa applications is on the cards for October.

The e-visa is part of government’s overhaul to make it easier for tourists to travel to South Africa, as well as for companies to acquire employees with scarce skills. President Ramaphosa made the commitment during his State of the Nation Address last Thursday.

“We’ll make good on our ambition to more than double international tourism arrivals to 21 million by 2030,” Ramaphosa said. “This will be achieved through the renewal of the country’s brand introducing a world-class visa regime and a significant focus on key markets.”

Ramaphosa’s commitment has been well received by business, but the industry says more is needed. “We welcome the fact that he said we’ll put in place a world-class visa system,” said Banking Association of SA CEO Cas Coovadia.

“What we would have liked him to say was that current visa system that’s impeding tourism will be suspended immediately.” Tourism accounts for about a tenth of the economy and employs about 1.6-million people.

The latest data shows an increase of more than 4 percent year-on-year in April. Home Affairs says the new visa system will enable investment. The department further stated that the visa system should also make it more efficient to admit people with scarce skills and it won’t compromise the country’s security.

“We’re now at the stage where we’re doing functional testing, once that’s done we’ll do a proper pilot with a few countries,” said Home Affairs Acting Director-General Thulani Mavuso “Once that’s completed we’ll go into production.”

Currently, citizens from 59 countries don’t need to apply for a visa to visit South Africa and this figure is set to increase soon. Tourism is a major impetus for growth and job creation and the e-visa will hopefully make travelling here easier.

 

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].