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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].

South African Visa Issues to Be Resolved

In the days to Africa’s Travel Indaba fete in South Africa, a number of tour operators were denied visas, sparking an uproar on social media platforms.

However, in his remarks at Africa’s Travel Indaba at the ICC Durban on Saturday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his government was working towards reducing the enormous and often unnecessary bureaucratic red tape that tourists, who want to visit his country, face.

“If a tourist is held back by a lot of red tape, they immediately give up and go to another destination. This clearly requires that we should streamline our tourist visa regimes and as South Africa we are committed to working towards the African Union’s goal of a visa free travel dispensation and a single African air transport market,” Mr Ramaphosa said.

He added that his country was in the process of overhauling the visa dispensation and introducing world class e-visa system.

In his Facebook post, Uganda’s tour operator Amos Wekesa, the executive director of Great Lakes Safaris, condemned the continued denial of visas to Ugandans to travel to South Africa, irrespective of travel frequency.

South Africa’s tourism minister Derek Hanekom said:

“I met with a number of hosted buyers, sellers and media from more than 80 countries and asked them what would be a befitting welcome to our president and their message is recognition of tourism industry but from Nigeria to Ghana, from Kenya to Uganda to India and China, the sector has massive potential and to realise it, the visa dispensation must be overhauled.”

Indaba is the continent’s top annual travel and trade fair that attracts thousands of people and media from some 80 countries.

Uganda, represented by Uganda Tourism Board, won the gold certificate for an outstanding stand characterised with structural traits of eco-friendliness thanks to use of grass thatch, natural sticks and showcase of attractions such as gorillas, birds, wildlife and culture among others.

It was Uganda’s third gold win under the category of Southern African Development Community and Africa, having bagged the same award and recognition in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

 

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].