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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 in October, 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].

Home Affairs Umgeni Staff Commended

This letter was written by D Boardwin, and sent to Berea Mail.

My passport expired on 19 June and I had to renew both my partner’s and mine simultaneously.

After having read so many negative comments about Home Affairs I was pretty apprehensive about going through the process and this is where my whole perception of Home Affairs changed.We visited the Home Affairs in Umgeni Road on Tuesday, 13 August at 8.30am and by 10.30am we were out with the 100 others before us. This they achieved notwithstanding being short of one camera,which is the most time consuming part of the process. The staff were very courteous and very organised and efficient.

The only negative comment I have to make is in respect of some people who sat in the queue of seats just moaning every step of the way – of the 100 or so there were four or five at the most who just couldn’t handle sharing the queue with anyone else. I guessed that this small minority were spoilt in the past (prior 1994) and that should explain everything.

On Monday, 19 August, four working days after I applied, I received an SMS informing me that the passports were ready for collection. At 11.45am we entered the Home Affairs Collections Division and by 12pm we were back in our car.

Need I say more – I believe that South Africans must accept that things have changed and its time for them to change with the times.

Home Affairs Umgeni Offices have my vote of confidence. We need to be more supportive and positive. Churchill once said that “if you nothing good to say, then don’t say anything.”

 

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: Budget Cuts Will Not Results in Office Closures

The South African Department of Home Affairs says that compulsory budget cuts will not mean it has to close any of its offices, but will have a “negative impact on the filling of some posts”.

Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, confirmed his department was facing compulsory budget cuts in reply to a Parliamentary question from the DA’s Joseph McGluwa.

“Budget cuts will have a negative impact on the filling of some posts, but we are not envisioning closure of any Home Affairs office,” he said.

Details of the cuts are contained in a document published by National Treasury in June. The paper provides national departments and public entities with guidelines of how to prepare their budget submissions.

It refers to a compulsory budget baseline reduction scenario of:

  • 5 percent in 2020/21;
  • 6 percent in 2021/22; and
  • 7 percent in 2022/23.

Departments must show how they can make cuts with the least impact for service delivery, and must suggest “non-priority programs and projects to be scaled down or closed.

 

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].