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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].

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].

Home Affairs Focusing on People Working in South Africa on the Wrong Visa

The Department of Home Affairs has published its first directive for 2019, aiming to clamp down on foreigners working in the country on ‘business trip’ visas.

According to Marisa Jacobs, director at Xpatweb, the directive clarifies that Section 11(2) visas are not to be used continuously and are specifically to allow for ‘short term project resources in South Africa’.

“The issuing of this directive indicates a common misuse of the visa category by employers where they are making use of the relaxed nature of visa requirements of this category to bring resources into South Africa and then continuously extending or applying for new visas when they should, in fact, be pursuing a long term work visa,” she said.

“The directive now sets out clearly that the visa may only be applied for once in a calendar year and only extended once for a period not exceeding three months. The maximum period is thus six months.”

Misrepresentation

According to Jacobs, there is a broad misrepresentation by business travelers – especially those travelling from visa exempt countries – who enter South Africa on a holiday/business visa while in fact conducting work in South Africa.

“When an employee comes to render employment services in South Africa, make sure they get a valid short-term work visa,” she said.

“Do not take a chance and tell the immigration official this is only a business trip, when the purpose is work.

“It is easy to be compliant and not worth the risk. The process takes 5 – 10 working days and the short-term visa is issued for three months and may be extended in South Africa for a further three months.”

Consequences of working on a Business Visa

Where an expatriate is found on your premises conducting work without the necessary authorization on their visa to conduct such work, the Immigration Act clearly sets out the implications for both the expatriate and the employer, said Jacobs.

This includes arrest and deportation for the foreign national and a fine and/or arrest for the employer depending on the offence, she said.

“The issuing of the above directive points to a more vigilant Department with their eye on individuals and businesses who do not comply with the conditions of their visas.

“This is a good time to ensure all employees are compliant and your organisation is in the green.”

 

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].

5 New Visa Changes South Africans Need to Know About Before Heading to the UK

UK immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, recently made a number of surprising announcements as the country prepares to make visa reforms.

Below, Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants broke down some of the most important changes and what they will mean for South Africans.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa to be replaced by innovator route

The current Tier 1 Entrepreneur route will be replaced by a new Innovator route, for more experienced business persons.

It will have a “similar emphasis on endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability”.

“We subsequently encourage applicants who still want to apply under the current Tier 1 Entrepreneur route, to contact us without delay,” Breytenbachs said.

New start-up visa route

Earlier in 2018, the UK Government announced that it will establish a new Start-up visa route. This route will build on the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur route.

Applicants under this new route will have to be endorsed by either a business or higher education institution sponsor.

No clarity on Tier 1 investor route

The UK Government announced on 6 December 2018 that the Tier 1 Investor route is suspended.

It added this route will from 7 December 2018 no longer be open for applicants to apply, and that new rules will be put in place sometime during 2019.

However, the Home Office has since released an official statement to the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) stating the following:

“The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended. However, the Government remains committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course.

“Any suspension would be implemented through changes to the Immigration rules.”

Tier 1 exceptional talent extended to architects

The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route will be expanded to provide for the inclusion of leading architects.

These architects will have to be endorsed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, under the remit of the Arts Council England.

Tier 5 religious and charity workers

Tier 5 Religious Workers and Tier 5 Charity Workers will in future have a cooling off period.

This cooling off period will prevent them from returning to the UK for 12 months, on another Tier 5 visa. This step is taken to underpin the fact that this is a temporary route.

 

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].