Archive from June, 2014
Jun 30, 2014 - General, Visa, Work Permit    No Comments

I’ll miss the birth of my first grand child thanks to Home Affairs

2014-06-26 15:27


A News24 Travel reader says the new immigration rules have thrown out her travel plans to the UK for an important event in her family.

“I am a UK passport holder and I along with my husband have lived in SA since 2007. My husband holds a 5 year work permit, until 2019. I applied for a renewal of my permit in Feb 2014 and I am still waiting. When applying for pervious renewals we have been able to travel overseas with my acknowledgment receipt duly stamped by Home Affairs. On this we booked to go to the UK in September 2014 having not been told otherwise by HA.

We then found out this week that this is now not allowed and I must stay in this country until the renewal is approved or fear the prospect of being deported on trying to re-entry into SA and a 5 year ban on my returning to SA.  None of this information was told to me on submission of my renewal if we had we would not of booked our annual trip to see family overseas.

This is even more painful as my first grand child is due to be born in late August hence our trip. All we can do is hope that HA manage to issue my permit before or we will lose all the money we have paid for our trip. Each time you manage to speak to someone the answer is the same you cannot travel and you must wait. There are also no exceptions to this rule.”

Home affairs has declared my wife illegal even though she has been living here for 5 years

2014-06-26 15:31

My name is Jean du Toit , 37y old South African citizen who  have been married to Irina Tokar , citizen  of the Ukraine for 7 years . For the last 5 years we have been living in Johannesburg  South Africa and on  3 March 2014 Irina applied with HA for a permanent residence permit,  more than 60 days before  expiry of  her  temporary permit/visa   on 10 May 2014  .A letter of acknowledgement of the application is the only communication received from HA to date.

In May we  got news that Irina,s  grandmother in the Ukraine was  seriously ill and because of the deteriorating security situation in the Ukraine which may make future   travel to the Ukraine impossible Irina decided to take an urgent trip to see her grandmother in the Ukraine. On Sunday 15 June 2014 Irina and our nine months old baby Olivia departed from OR Thambo airport but not before she was declared an undesireable person and banned from South Africa for 5 years.

She launched an appeal with HA but to -date no acknowledgement of receival of the appeal. In light of the non response on the application for a permanent residence permit  our  level of confidence for a fair revision is  low.

I am a holder of multiple university degrees and with my vast experience of computer systems I will have no problem finding a job abroad where I worked before for several years .

The reason why I returned to South Africa in 2009 was because I wanted to help build my beloved democratic South Africa  but now that HA make it impossible for me to stay here with my family,  I will have no option but to find a  new home  where my  talent and knowledge are  still appreciated.

We have done nothing wrong’

We have done nothing wrong’

June 29 2014

Johannesburg – There was nothing irregular about a home affairs official joining the international company awarded a tender to receive and manage South Africa’s visa applications, an official said on Sunday.

“This matter is being sensationalised. I know it sells newspapers but we have done nothing wrong,” said Rishen Mahabeer, VFS general manager of operations in Southern Africa.

“We took the employee through our normal human resources processes after we had advertised for the post internally and externally. We hired her because we could not find a suitable candidate internally.”

The Sunday Times reported that Ziphora Sinekoane, who had worked on a R1 billion visa tender, had jumped ship – taking up a job at VFS Visa Processing SA.

She had been personal assistant of home affairs chief director Jack Monedi.

According to the report, Monedi managed the tender for the controversial outsourcing of the visa services.

Mahabeer said Sinekoane was appointed in a supervisory role at VFS’s call centres.

He said she had no influence at home affairs to sway the home affairs tender process.

“We have hired her simply on merit. If she had been one of the senior people at home affairs who adjudicated in the process which resulted in us having the tender, then we would not have hired her. We do not entertain any form of bribery or corruption.”

Asked about the perception of corruption surrounding the matter, Mahabeer insisted his company’s hands were clean.

“W are a big international company and obviously we care about the image of our brand. Perception and integrity is very esential in our operations,” said Mahabeer.

He said his company had created employment for around 100 people working in its 11 visa facilitation services across South Africa.

The Sunday Times report also said VFS’s South African subsidiary had no black empowerment partners.

It allegedly earned empowerment points by hiring two black-owned companies to manage its offices and staffing.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba announced earlier this month that VFS Global, a worldwide outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments, had been appointed to receive and manage visa and permit applications in South Africa.

On Sunday, the Democratic Alliance said it would request Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to probe the visa facilitation deal.

“It is ironic that this tender was awarded to an international company whilst the new visa regulations were intended to protect the South African economy and job market,” DA MP Haniff Hoosen said.

“Contrary to the intention to protect the South African job market, the awarding of this tender to VFS will have the opposite effect and thousands of employees of private visa facilitation companies – who assist foreigners to obtain business, student, tourist and other permits to enter the country – are likely to lose their jobs.”

Immigration practitioners marched to home affairs offices in Johannesburg last week protesting against the raft of newly gazetted immigration regulations.

The amendment to the Immigration Act had removed section 46 which acknowledged the practitioners, they said.

Practitioners assist foreign nationals to apply for work, visiting, study, or business permits in South Africa by doing the administration, standing in the queue, and collecting the documents at a fee.

They say they wrote exams at the home affairs department at a cost of R3000 to qualify as practitioners.

The group said they were thinking of suing the department for loss of income. – Sapa


South Africa: Home Affairs Committee to Debate Immigration Regulations

South Africa: Home Affairs Committee to Debate Immigration Regulations

25 June 2014 –

Yesterday, at the first meeting of the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee meeting, I requested an urgent discussion and debate on the new job-killing visa regulations and its impact on our tourism, economic development and job creation.

The Chairperson, Buoang Lemias Mashile, supported this request. We will follow up on this agreement as soon as possible, so that the matter can be placed on the agenda of the next committee meeting.

We are however concerned that the Chairperson was non-committal on our request to have the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, summoned to explain these regulations and their negative impact.

Instead, the Chairperson noted that the department should come and brief the committee on this matter. This isn’t good enough. As the member of the executive responsible for this portfolio, and as an MP accountable to Parliament, Minister Gigaba must avail himself to take questions from committee members.

I will therefore accordingly write to the Minister directly and request that he himself request that the committee allow him time to brief them as soon as possible.

The DA will continue to do everything possible to ensure that these job-killing regulations are changed without any further delay.

Haniff Hoosen, Shadow Minister of Home Affairs


New visa rules will hurt tourism: DA

New visa rules will hurt tourism: DA

June 23 2014 at 04:03pm

Cape Town – New visa requirements will have a “devastating impact” on South Africa’s booming tourism, the DA warned on Monday.

“(The) new immigration regulations are tying up our tourism industry in unnecessary red tape, and placing an unnecessary burden on the growth of this job-creating sector,” Democratic Alliance MP James Vos said in a statement.

The implementation of new biometric visa requirements for foreigners was already proving a serious obstacle for people wanting to visit the country.

“Visitors are now required to apply for their visas in person, which is an additional and unnecessary travel expense for those who do not live near South African embassies, consulates, and visa centres, or, worse, live in countries without these facilities,” he said.

Home affairs published the new regulations last month.

Last week, Western Cape premier Helen Zille said the new laws threatened the province’s film, business, and leisure tourism industries. She has threatened to take the national government to court over the matter.

Vos called on Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom to urgently brief Parliament’s tourism portfolio committee on what steps his department planned to take to overcome “the potentially devastating impact” of the new regulations.

“The minister of tourism cannot let this go unanswered. He must now step in and protect the jobs that tourism creates in South Africa,” Vos said.

According to Statistics SA, tourism employs almost 600,000 South Africans, and contributes almost R90 billion to the country’s GDP.

Vos said most countries were trying to relax requirements for tourist visas.

“It seems the ANC have missed this trend completely,” he said.

Just over a month ago, before the new regulations were announced, the tourism department announced that international tourist arrivals in South Africa were at an all-time high, and poised to break through the 10 million mark.

“South Africa’s international tourist arrivals grew at an annual average growth rate of 7.4 percent between 2011 and 2013, well above the global average of 4.5 percent during this period,” it said in a statement at the time.



Visa rules may hit tourism – Hanekom

Visa rules may hit tourism – Hanekom

June 26 2014 at 08:08am


File photo: Hanekom said the regulations were revised with good intentions but the unintended negative consequences should be taken seriously. Picture: Timothy Bernard

Johannesburg – The revised immigration regulations may have possible unintended consequences for the tourism industry, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said on Wednesday.

Tourism stakeholders had highlighted the consequences to the department, he said in a statement.

“Industry role players highlighted two specific provisions – the requirement for an unabridged birth certificate for minors, and the provision for in-person collection of biometric data.”

It was believed that the measures might impact the country’s competitiveness.

“Countries are attempting to ease visa requirements to promote tourism.”

Hanekom said the regulations were revised with good intentions but the unintended negative consequences should be taken seriously.

“Any matter that could have a detrimental impact on international tourist arrivals to South Africa is a concern.”

He said the department would carefully consider any negative impact of well-intentioned measures on international tourist arrivals. – Sapa


‘Africa needs greater share of tourism’

‘Africa needs greater share of tourism’

May 12 2014 at 08:45am

Durban – A number of steps are required to ensure Africa increases its share of the global tourism market, African Union Commission chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma saidy.

Eliminating complicated visa processes, liberalising air routes, and eliminating poaching were all required for Africa to gain a greater share of the global tourism market, she told a tourism industry indaba in Durban.

Dlamini-Zuma said tourist wanted to visit but were not interested in having to face administrative hurdles.

“We must work on a simplified visa and joint visas,” she said, adding that this would make travelling between countries easier for tourists.

She said the “scourge of poaching” posed a major threat to tourism.

“The scale of poaching shows the existence of a well organised crime ring (working) with high-ranking public officials.”

The loss of wildlife would be catastrophic for future generations as well as future tourism benefits.

She said the AU was aiming to make Africa the preferred travel destination by 2063, but much needed to be done before then.

Dlamini-Zuma said that apart from attracting overseas tourists, Africa also needed to tap into the continent’s own 300 million-strong middle class with its growing disposable income.

“We must ensure they spend it (the disposable income) on the continent.” – Sapa