Tag Archive for: Immigration

SA Immigration

We are delighted that Dr Leon Schreiber from the DA, has been appointed as the new Minister of The Department of Home Affairs. We are confident that his appointment will result in positive changes within the department and more specifically within the immigration division.

As Dr Schreibers first official act, a media statement has been released whereby extending the temporary concession for foreign nationals, who having pending visa, waiver and appeal applications in the system. The concession is extended until 31 December 2024 and relates to pending waiver applications, long term visa applications such as relative visas, work visa, study visas, business visa and visa appeal applications.

If a foreign national has a visitors visa in terms of Section 11(1) of the SA Immigration Act pending, their automatic concession is for a maximum of 90 days, beyond the current visa expiry date. For example. If a foreign national had a visitors visa which was valid until 31 May 2024 and they applied for an extension until 30 July 2024, if the extension outcome is not issued, the latest they may leave SA is end of August 2024 (90 days after the initial visa expired).

Facts to assist you while travelling to Sierra Leone.

 

Sierra Leone population

  • 4 million people.

Capital and Largest City

  • Freetown.

Official Language(s)

  • English.

Currency

  • Leone.

Office Hours

  • 08:00 – 16:00.

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

Time Zone

  • UTC.

Calling Code

  • +232.

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

Government

  • Julius Maada Wonie Bio is a Sierra Leonean politician, and the current president of Sierra Leone since 4 April 2018.

Climate

  • The climate of Sierra Leone is tropical. Although it could technically be classified as a tropical monsoon climate, it could also be described as a climate that is transitional between a continually wet tropical rainforest climate and a tropical savanna climate. There are two seasons. The dry season lasts from November to May, and the rainy season lasts from June to October. Average rainfall is highest at the coast, 3000–5000 mm per year, but precipitation decreases as you move further inland.

Transport

  • The main airport in Sierra Leone is the Lungi International Airport, located in Lungi. The country does not share rail links with adjacent countries. Because of widespread poverty, high petroleum prices and a large portion of the population residing in small communities, walking is often the preferred method of transportation in Sierra Leone. Major ports of Sierra Leone include Bonthe, Freetown, Pepel, and Queen Elizabeth II Quay.

Economy

  • Sierra Leone’s main industries include diamonds mining, small-scale manufacturing (cigarettes, beverages, textiles, footwear), petroleum refining, and commercial ship repair.

Hospitality

  • Sierra Leoneans are extremely polite and manner conscious. Locals give lots of attention to one’s neatness of dress and style of presentation, especially in urban areas. Courteous and eloquent greetings are important in their society. Elders are always respected. People in Sierra Leone are also generous, especially towards their guests. A “good” host is always a generous host. It is polite for guests to leave some food on the plate, thanking the host profusely for his or her generosity.

Greetings

  • Greetings in Sierra Leone vary according to ethnic group. In Krio, Hello is ”Kushe”. In Mende, it is ”Bua”, and in Temne it is ”Seke”.

Money

  • The Leone is the official currency of Sierra Leone. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The Leone is abbreviated as ‘’Le’’ placed before the amount.

Transportation

  • People in Sierra Leone drive on the right side of the road. The minimum age for citizens to drive a car is 18. Driving under influence in Sierra Leone is taken seriously, so make sure to abide by the local rules of the road. The maximum allowed speed limit is 70 km/h on urban roads. Children who are younger than 5 years are prohibited to be in the front seat of a moving vehicle.

Safety

  • Due to the high levels of poverty in Sierra Leone, it is not the safest country to travel to. Visitors face a high risk of pick pocketing and theft. It is best to treat crowded places with caution, and avoid other places entirely, if possible. Nightclubs and bars are typically hotspots for criminals, muggers, pickpockets, and prostitutes. Sierra Leone is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa. Although the seas close to the beach are generally safe for experienced swimmers, there has been a number of reported cases of drowning due to strong currents.

Culture

  • The two largest ethnic groups residing in the country are the Temne and Mende. Other ethnic communities in the country include the Limba, Kono, Loko, Fullah, Mandingo, and other smaller groups. While English is the country’s official language, the Mende and the Temne are the principal vernacular languages spoken in the south and north of the country. Krio is an English-based Creole language is a first language for only 10% of the population. However, this unique language is understood by nearly the entire population. Most of Sierra Leone’s population is Muslim, with the approximate percentage nearing a whopping 78.6%. They coexist with a smaller group of Christians, who account for about 20.8% of the population.

Shops

  • Sierra Leone has numerous stores, shopping centres, and malls that are modern like that of those in western countries, especially in its capital city. Therefore, shopping and entertainment should be no hassle. Sierra Leone also has some online shopping options.

 

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Facts to assist you while travelling to Gambia.

 

Gambian population

  • 7 million.

Capital and Largest City

  • Banjul.

Official Language(s)

  • English.

Currency

  • Dalasi.

Office Hours

  • 09:00 – 17:00.

Weekend

  • Saturday – Sunday.

Time Zone

  • UTC.

Calling Code

  • +220.

Tipping

  • If a service charge is not included in the bill a tip of 10% is acceptable.

Embassies

  • Most countries are represented by embassies or consulates located in the capital city.

Government

  • Adama Barrow is a Gambian politician and real estate developer who has served as President of the Gambia since 2017.

Climate

  • Gambia has a tropical climate. The hot and rainy season normally lasts from June until November. Thereafter, from December until May, cooler temperatures predominate, and precipitation decreases. The climate in The Gambia closely resembles that of neighbouring Senegal, of southern Mali, and of the northern part of Benin.

Transport

  • The main airport in Gambia is the Banjul International Airport, located in its capital city. The system of transportation in Gambia mixes both public and private operations and consists of a system of roads that are both paved and unpaved, water and air transportation. There are no railways in the country.

Economy

  • Gambia’s main industries that contribute towards its GDP include mining, processing peanuts, fish, tourism, beverages, agricultural machinery assembly, woodworking, metalworking, and clothing.

Hospitality

  • The ethnic groups that reside in Gambia prioritise tranquility of life, and their manners and actions tend to ease the attainment of that goal. Regardless of ethnicity, Gambians are often soft-spoken and gentle in demeanor. They avoid unnecessary conflicts and strive toward quiet settlement of disputes.

Greetings

  • A common handshake between two men occurs with the right hand and tends to linger for a bit. Handshakes may also be accompanied by an intimate and polite touching of the forearm or upper arm. Older people are greeted first, typically by saying ‘’Asalaamalekum’’. With women, a verbal greeting tends to suffice. It may be accompanied by a handshake, and this is acceptable, but not expected. The elder woman usually leads the greeting. Due to most of the population practicing Islam, refrain from greeting the opposite sex. Verbal greetings are sufficient but try to avoid direct eye contact. It is taboo for religiously observant Muslim men to touch women and vice-versa.

Money

  • The official currency of Gambia is the Gambian Dalasi (GMD), which is subdivided into 100 bututs. The country has a cash-based economy, so while you may find a number of hotels and restaurants that accept visa debit cards, not many will take credit card payments.

Transportation

  • One of the major challenges faced by people travelling to Gambia is getting around the country by road and crossing the river safely by boat. Most roads in the country are in a poor condition that often worsens during the rainy season. There is no existing public transport system and Gambian drivers have varying levels of skill and respect for basic road rules. Many of them do not make use of the vehicle’s headlights at night, especially in areas that actually have streetlights, like the capital city. Drunk driving is also a frequent occurrence amongst citizens and traffic laws and regulations are not properly implemented.

Safety

  • Gambia is known as the Smiling Coast of Africa due to its reputation for positivity and good vibes. While the country is reported to be safe, crimes do occur. Most crimes that take place are petty crimes such as pickpocketing, scams and theft. However, it is not common that visitors are targeted, and most people who visited Gambia have not experienced any crime whatsoever. It is important that you practice vigilance and take precautions.

Culture

  • Gambia is a multiethnic country. The country’s most prominent ethnic groups include the Fula, Jola, Mandinka, Serahule, and Wolof. These groups coexist in the same regions, and there is no part of The Gambia that is inhabited by one single ethnic group. This has led to the sharing and mixing of cultural traits among the groups, which has in turn led to a movement toward a Gambian national culture. Islam is the biggest religion in Gambia, with Muslims making up 90 percent of the country’s population. There is also a small group of Christian followers, as well as an even smaller group of locals who still practice traditional and indigenous religions.

Shops

  • There are many supermarkets in and towards the city spaces that are well-stocked with imported food, as well as malls and shopping centres. Shops are open from 9am and usually close only after 7pm, from Monday to Saturday.

 

 

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Immigration to South Africa

SA Immigration News

The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) published a draft second amendment of the SA Immigration Regulation 2014, which was dated 9 February 2024.

Members of the public were given until 29 March 2024, to submit written suggestions, comments, etc. relating to the proposed amendments.

Despite the closing date for written submissions being 29 March 2024, The DHA proceeded to publish the new regulations, which was dated and implemented on 28 March 2024.

The crucial amendments are as described below:

When applying for long term temporary residence visas and/or permanent residence permits, police clearances / criminal record checks are required in respect of countries where the applicant resided for longer than 12 months, immediately preceding the date of their visa / permit application.

Radiological reports are no longer required when applying for temporary residence visas and/or permanent residence permits.

A spouse or child of a SA citizen or permanent resident, or the parent of a SA citizen or permanent resident child, may apply for a change of status / condition, from a visitors visa, to any other visa category, from within SA.

If a foreign national is employed by a foreign employer on a remote basis and provided that they earn a minimum annual salary equivalent to R1 million, they may apply for a visitors visa in terms of Section 11(2) of the SA Immigration Act, for the purpose of working remotely in SA. If the visa is issued for longer than 6 months (within a 12 months period), the applicant must register with the SA Revenue Services.

A foreign national who qualifies to apply for a critical skills work visa, must provide proof of registration with a SAQA accredited board/body/council in SA, if such registration is required by law, provided that in the event of submitting proof that one has applied for such registration, the critical skills work visa may be issued for an initial duration not exceeding 12 months.

All work visa applications must be adjudicated in accordance with a point-based system, as determined by the Minister of the DHA. Although not limited to, the points base system, will consider, age, educational qualification, language skills, work experience, offer of employment, the ability to adapt within SA, etc.

The points base document has not yet been issued, which already proposes a new challenge.

 

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