Archive from July, 2015
Jul 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Biometrics on arrival visa approach more cost effective

Samuel Mungadze, 30 July 2015, Business Day
SA SHOULD abandon in-country biometric data capturing in favour of a “biometrics on arrival” system, Tourism Business Council CE Mmatsatsi Ramawela said.
The biometrics on arrival approach was more cost effective, said Ms Ramawela.
The council’s recommendation comes as debate about the country’s new visa regulations escalated on Wednesday, when Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom raised his concerns about the rules’ impact on visitor arrivals.
The new rules, which were introduced last year, require prospective visitors to have their biometric data captured at South African missions abroad when applying for visas. But Ms Ramawela said this was problematic and discouraging visitors to the country.
The regulations came into effect in May last year, marking the commencement of the Immigration Amendment Acts of 2007 and 2011.
Ms Ramawela explained: “Biometric data can be efficiently collected on arrival through various biometric readers or collection points at the immigration centre. Home Affairs must implement a visitor-friendly visa regime. This includes ensuring that visa processing staff are welcoming, friendly and act in the best interest of the country in terms of ensuring security. But also ensuring that economic benefits are maximised through tourism revenue.”
Mr Hanekom told 702 radio on Wednesday that the country “need(s) to find a better way of doing it (implementing visa regulations). The impact is not only on tourism but on investment into the country as well”.
Supporting the minister’s view, Ms Ramawela said: ” We have said right from the beginning that these regulations, particularly the requirement for children under 18 years to travel with unabridged birth certificates, are not in tune with global trends.
“Considering how other destinations, that are serious about growing their tourism economy, are addressing the same security challenges that South Africa is grappling with, we are extremely concerned.”
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, who has championed the new regulations despite the growing resistance, told a local radio station on Wednesday that the opprobrium stemming from the new rules was “self-generated doubt”.

Jul 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Finance Minister warns about visa uncertainty

30 Jul 2015 – tourism update

Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, has singled out the new visa regulations as one of three policy issues causing uncertainty in the economy
Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, singled out the new visa regulations as one of three policy issues causing uncertainty in the economy at the key African National Congress Lekgotla over the weekend.
The Lekgotla was a three-day meeting by the ANC’s policy-making elite.
According to Business Day, Nene sketched a frank and bleak picture of the economy when he acknowledged that the government was partly responsible for eroding SA’s growth potential.
South Africa was unlikely to achieve the 5% target by 2020 that was set in the National Development Plan. It was more likely to be 3% in the medium term, he said. After following the global average for years, SA’s growth potential was currently far below the global average, he told delegates.
The other policy issues he mentioned that caused uncertainty were land reform strategies in agriculture and amendments to the Act regulating the minerals industry.

Jul 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Finance Minister warns about visa uncertainty

30 Jul 2015 – tourism update

Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, has singled out the new visa regulations as one of three policy issues causing uncertainty in the economy
Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene, singled out the new visa regulations as one of three policy issues causing uncertainty in the economy at the key African National Congress Lekgotla over the weekend.
The Lekgotla was a three-day meeting by the ANC’s policy-making elite.
According to Business Day, Nene sketched a frank and bleak picture of the economy when he acknowledged that the government was partly responsible for eroding SA’s growth potential.
South Africa was unlikely to achieve the 5% target by 2020 that was set in the National Development Plan. It was more likely to be 3% in the medium term, he said. After following the global average for years, SA’s growth potential was currently far below the global average, he told delegates.
The other policy issues he mentioned that caused uncertainty were land reform strategies in agriculture and amendments to the Act regulating the minerals industry.

Jul 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Zim couple wants SA travel ban reversed

30 July 2015 – ENCA
PRETORIA – A Zimbabwean couple has approached the South African embassy in Harare, seeking a reversal of the one-year travel prohibition imposed on them by Home Affairs officials at the Beitbridge border post.
Anglistone Thembani Sibanda and his wife Sithobekile, both pastors, arrived in South Africa on July 12 for an international church conference hosted in Kempton Park, Gauteng.
The summit also drew guests from the United States and Liberia.
The couple was granted a stay of 15 days each, from the annual visa-free 90-day stay which applies to visiting Zimbabweans.
“On July 17, Sithobekile, who has a history of cardiac related ailments, collapsed. We rushed her to a general medical practitioner in Johannesburg who in turn referred her to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. She was subsequently admitted until the 27th of July,” said Sibanda.
“They temporarily discharged her at around 4pm on the 27th of July, which was apparently our last day according to the days we had been given by home affairs border officials upon our entry into South Africa.”
The couple hurried for the border, more than 500 kilometres away, but only arrived at the exit port after midnight.
“That led to our ban from South Africa as we arrived two hours after June 27 ended,” he said.
“Efforts to explain our situation and to provide the attached medical evidence including hospital reports were fruitless. My wife and I were devastated by the attitude of the home affairs official who did not bother to listen to us but quickly banned us without considering the situation.”
Notices issued to the pair state that they have overstayed in South Africa by one day and the department of home affairs has therefore declared them “undesirable”.
The documents are signed by immigration officer Mmatsholo Caroline Nakene and endorsed by chief immigration officer Thupi Glory Mudau at Beitbridge.
Sibanda said informal offers were being made at the border by operators claiming that, for a fee of approximately R1,000, the couple’s “undesirability” could be reversed.
The situation is compounded by the fact that Sibanda’s wife is required to be in South Africa for scheduled medical examinations on August 3, and possibly a heart-related operation on September 9.
“This matter is life threatening and urgent. This might have been her chance to survive due to the worsening condition of her health. We appreciate the commitment by doctors at Bara and the broad South African government for affording us this opportunity,” said Anglistone.
On Wednesday, the frantic couple travelled from their base in Bulawayo to Harare hoping to get an audience with officials at the South African embassy. The couple argues that they had only spent 15 days of the 90-days they are entitled to under South African immigration laws.
“At the embassy we were only told to be patient, but this is an urgent matter we are dealing with. The officials at the embassy said we should launch our appeal online. We have travelled more than 400 kilometres to Harare,” said Anglistone.
“This travel is very straining on my wife, given her heart condition. We are now incurring costs, unnecessarily travelling up and down. We have now booked ourselves into a hotel.”
The Sibandas referred to Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba’s remarks at a media briefing in Pretoria last week. Responding to questions, Gigaba said immigrants should ignore border officials who grant them unreasonable days.
“If an immigration official gives you three days, when you have 90 days, you know your rights. Just ignore them. Simply ignore them,” Gigaba said.
“It is not the immigration officer that is going to declare you undesirable. It is the movement control system and that is controlled centrally. The guy standing in front of you, telling you an untruth, is in effect ineffective.”
Launching an anti-corruption blitz, Gigaba said there was “no human intervention” in barring people from entering South Africa.
“On the 91st day, the movement control system will record that you have exceeded your stay in South Africa. The declaration of your undesirability is generated centrally and there is no human intervention in the process. No person is going to say ‘but I had given you three days, why didn’t you leave?”
“The person who says you have three days to travel to Cape Town is telling you hogwash. Ignore them,” said Gigaba.
Immigrant organisation, the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, has previously complained that despite South African law stipulating that Zimbabwean travellers had the annual visa-free 90 day-stay, officials often grant an unreasonable number of days for the travellers.
On Thursday, Nqabutho Mabhena, the head of the organisation, said it was unclear how the border officials were supposed to handle the 90-day visa free stay of visiting Zimbabweans.
“We respect the laws of South Africa, but what is not clear is how one spreads the 90 days to escape the ban. We note that the traveller (Sithobekile) had just been released from hospital and hoped that the official could have arrived at a different decision,” said Mabhena.
“We hope the home affairs ministry will lift the suspension in time to ensure that the couple returns to South Africa for a check-up.”
– Africa News Agency

Jul 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Mailbox: Gigaba’s Visa rule – It’s about the psychology of being right

Brett Johnson – Biznews – 30/5/2015
In Andrew Donaldson’s recent piece on the toxic visa furore, in his usual tone, Donaldson puts it all down to a capitalist plot. In this response, reader Brent Johnson blames the mess on the psychology of always wanting to be right. He refers to a book by Kathryn Schulz called: “Being Wrong – Adventures in the Margin of Error”. The book explores explores human emotions and as Brett puts it “why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error corrodes our relationships – whether between family members, colleagues, neighbours, or nations.” Johnson calls on the Home Affairs Minister to read it.
To augment Donaldson’s hypothesis on understanding Gigaba’s deeply flawed assumptions on the underlying reasons for the child visa requirements, one only needs to look at one of many parallels: the recent “undesirability” deportation farce.
Those who follow these things will remember a court case in August of 2014 that I was forced into after immigration officials deported my wife on the back of deeply flawed legislation. She was labelled with the oft quoted and priceless moniker: “undesirable”. As were many, many others, some of whom joined our ultimately successful court action – Home Affairs having been ordered to allow the return of my wife immediately.
As if this was not enough, on Tuesday 24th March 2015, the constitutional court denied Home Affairs’ third appeal against this case, the third such one they had made and lost. You’d think they would get the message by now? No. The saga continues.
Finally some acknowledgment from cabinet on true impact of the ludicrous #VisaLaws. Hanekom vs Gigaba on this issue will be interesting.
— Mandy Wiener (@MandyWiener) July 29, 2015
But it goes much deeper than this. It may be simply about the psychology of being right, a key component of the human condition and one that scales up exponentially into organisational and government psychology. The (white) devil capitalists are to blame, so let’s lie about some child trafficking figures. The end justifies the means after all. I’m reminded of the Nationalist Party and its metaphorical finger to the rest of the world regarding the legitimacy of apartheid. They, the Nats, were right. The rest of the world was wrong and nothing would change that. Until something did of course, thankfully.
Home Affairs is now the same, so absolutely adamant that rushed through, ill thought-out and “based on lies” legislation is correct. They are right and stuff anyone else who thinks differently. Because they have free reign with tax payers money, they can appeal and litigate as much as they like. If allowed, they would appeal directly to God, and if God handed down a case dismissal chiselled into a clay tablet they would still be right. God would be wrong.
It’s this ethos that is common to so much of government that results in continual attacks on our constitution and the failure of much proposed legislation on constitutional muster. Being wrong is a humane and desirable human trait however.
There are upsides to your mistakes guys. Make it right and move on, we all screw up. Kathryn Schulz’s book “Being Wrong – Adventures in the Margin of Error” explores “why we find it so gratifying to be right and so maddening to be mistaken, and how this attitude toward error corrodes our relationships – whether between family members, colleagues, neighbours, or nations.”

Jul 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Launch of Biometric Residence Permits in South Africa

Posted by: PR Newswire: July 30, 2015
PRETORIA, South Africa, 29 July 2015 / PRN Africa / –
Changes to visa process for applicants travelling to the UK for more than 6 months
From 31 July 2015 UK Visas & Immigration will begin to issue Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) for non-EEA nationals travelling to the UK for more than six months. The changes will affect those applying to settle in the UK, as well as students and workers applying for a longer-stay visa.
From this date, applicants will receive a 30-day sticker in their passport instead of a ‘vignette’ with the full grant of leave. Applicants will be required to collect their BRP from a post office within ten days of arrival in the UK. The BRP card can then be used as proof of right to work, study and access public services in the UK.
Applicants will receive a letter, if their application is successful, which provides detailed information about collecting their BRP. Full guidance can be found here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will this affect me?
The change will only affect non-EEA nationals travelling to the UK for more than six months, such as those applying in a points-based system route, or for a settlement visa. If you are applying for a short-stay visitors visa, you will not need a BRP.
How do I apply for a visa after 31 July?
The application process is largely the same. If you want to go to the UK for more than six months, you will be asked for additional information when you complete your online visa application, which will include the postcode of your new address in the UK. The main difference is that when you arrive in the UK, you will need to go to a designated post office to collect your residence permit within 10 days.
How much will this cost?
There is no additional fee for the BRP, and the visa application fee remains the same.
I’m not sure what date I will travel to the UK, what should I do?
Make sure you know the date you will travel to the UK before you apply. Your temporary visa will only be valid for 30 days once you receive it, and you will need to travel within this period. If you receive your temporary sticker, and can’t travel during the 30 day window, you will need to apply for a replacement.
What can I use the BRP for?
The purpose of the BRP is to provide evidence your immigration status. You will not need to carry it at all times, but you will need to show it to demonstrate your entitlement to work, study or to access benefits or public services.
What happens if I decide to change my travel date after I receive my 30 day passport sticker?
If the short term vignette has expired, or will expire before you travel, then you will need to apply for a new short term vignette.
How will I know where to collect my BRP?
When you apply for your visa you will be asked for the first part of the postcode of your new UK address. You will be given the details of the post office where you will need to collect your BRP on arrival in the UK when you receive your decision letter.
How can I find out more?
Full guidance can be found here.
From 31 July, if you apply for a visa valid for longer than six months and are successful, you will receive a detailed letter with your 30-day sticker explaining exactly what to do to collect the BRP in the UK.
SOURCE British High Commission Pretoria

Jul 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Ministers in ‘rare’ public spat over visa regulations

The ministers of Tourism & Home Affairs are at loggerheads over the new visa rules.
Stephen Grootes – EWN – 30/07/2015
JOHANNESBURG – As the tourism industry waits to hear if Cabinet will change the new visa regulations, political analysts say the public spat between Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom is almost unheard of.

On Wednesday, Hanekom said on 702’s John Robbie Show that the new requirements were hurting the industry.

Then, Gigaba came out defending the regulations and accused Hanekom of undermining Cabinet.

Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa Chairperson Carla da Silva, said international airlines are still complaining about the regulations.

“They’re saying to us that it’s such a tedious process, it’s such a difficult process. The ease of coming to South Africa, whether it’s pleasure or business, is so challenging that they’re just finding alternatives.”

But there’s no doubt Gigaba is angry with Hanekom.

He said, “We all should have refrained from making public announcements which would instigate potential conflict.”

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said a public spat like this is rare.

“It could reflect the common frustration as to the direction, or maybe the coherence of policy within Cabinet.”

The regulations task team is meeting next week.

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