Archive from August, 2015
Aug 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

State lambasted over Zim permits

August 29 2015 at 10:58am
By NONI MOKATI –IOL
Pretoria – Migrant organisations have lambasted the government for its handling of the application process of the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permits.
Zimbabweans in South Africa have until September 30 to collect their documents from the Visa and Permit Facilitation Centres across all nine provinces. Failure to do so will result in the permits being sent back to the department.
Home Affairs said 26 986 permits of the 198 032 applications processed had yet to be collected.
It said 6.2 percent of applications had been rejected. But human rights lawyers are challenging this figure.
“There were people whose applications were rejected but they were never given reasons why. Over and above this they were never informed of their right to appeal the decision.
“This does not comply with regulations in the Immigration Act. Worse is that the appeal date is within 10 days and this has long passed,” said Human Rights lawyer David Cote.

Chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum Marc Gbaffou urged those who failed to renew their permits to report to them as they would be making a special request to Home Affairs for amnesty.
Pretoria News Weekend

Aug 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Latest on SA permits

by Staff reporter – www.bulawayo24.com – 28/8/2015

The South African Department of Home Affairs says it has adjudicated 99.7% of the applications for special permits by Zimbabweans ahead of a collection deadline of the end of September.

Zimbabweans working, studying or running businesses in South Africa are required to have the permits and from the end of next month those without a permit or a regular visa will be deported.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba told reporters this week that the bulk of remaining work for the dispatch of outstanding certificates was administrative. Almost 210,000 applications were received before the 31 December cut-off date. He said DHA had rejected 12,228, or 6.2%, of the applications and approved 185,075, or 93.8%.

The special permit was intended to ease the considerable pressure on the asylum system and general visa system. It followed the 2009 issuance of 245,000 special permits, which allowed Zimbabweans already in South Africa who did not have visas to stay and work.

Illegal immigrants do not qualify for the permits, although there are continued estimates of thousands of undocumented economic migrants flooding across the Limpopo from Zimbabwe. Following violence-tainted elections in 2008, hyperinflation and land grabs that all but ended foreign investment, Zimbabwe plunged into an economic recession that has pushed unemployment beyond 90%.

Aug 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Four nabbed for visa and permit fraud

Aug 28 2015 – The New Age
The Hawks have arrested four people for visa and permit fraud and extorting money from foreign nationals. Three men and a woman were nabbed during an early morning raid in Ekurhuleni in Gauteng.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Department of Home Affairs were part of the operation which saw four homes being searched.

The officials, who were acting on several tip-offs, found IDs, work permits and an illegal firearm. One man, believed to be the kingpin, was arrested in Kempton Park.

Official documents from the Home Affairs Department were also discovered.

Aug 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Net migration reaches all-time high of 330,000 – more than triple the Tories’ target

27 August 2015 – Hayden Smith – The Mirror
The total is more than triple the Tories’ target – and comes after the party tried to bury the figures under their House of Lords announcement
Net migration to Britain is at an all time high, official figures have confirmed.
The 330,000 total is more than triple the Tories’ 100,000 target – and comes after the party tried to bury the figures under their House of Lords announcement.
The key measure – the difference between the number of people entering and the number leaving – was an estimated 330,000 in the year to March.
This is 10,000 above the highest figure on record, which was 320,000 for the year ending June 2005, and an increase of more than a third compared to the same period last year.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the new figures are “deeply disappointing”.
It is the fifth consecutive quarterly rise in the index – raising new questions about the Tories’ aim to bring the number below 100,000.
The increase was driven by a record 269,000 EU citizens arriving in Britain.
Statistics also showed, as expected, that Britain’s foreign-born population has surpassed eight million for the first time.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the parliamentary home affairs committee, said: “These record breaking figures are shocking.
“Only one month ago Theresa May told the home affairs committee that net migration of under 100,000 was her target.
“This is clearly not going to happen. Broken promises on migration do not build confidence
The Government insists it is acting to control immigration and claimed the figures should be a “wake up call for the EU” amid an unprecedented surge of arrivals into the bloc.
“These stark figures are deeply disappointing,” said Mr Brokenshire. “While these figures underline the challenges we need to meet to reduce net migration, they should also act as a further wake-up call for the EU.
“Current flows of people across Europe are on a scale we haven’t seen since the end of the Second World War.
“This is not sustainable and risks the future economic development of other EU member states. It reinforces the need for further reform at an EU level as well as within the UK.”

Aug 31, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Charity must begin at home for graft-riddled Department of Home Affairs

Business Day Live – Lorenzo Fioramonti, August 28 2015
THE Department of Home Affairs has never been particularly efficient. Recent events have confirmed that its traditional weaknesses have not been addressed, while showing that new problems have developed, particularly in relation to how foreigners and, above all, migrants are being treated.
With a view to resolving the impasse, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is now leading an interministerial committee, comprising Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, his tourism counterpart, Derek Hanekom, and their colleagues from the security cluster. Their responsibility is to “examine and solve the potential and unintended consequences of the new immigration regulations on various sectors, including tourism and investment”.
Last year, the department announced new rules for foreign travellers and migrants. Besides expanding the list of countries whose citizens would require a visa to enter SA, it also established that all minors travelling with their parents in or out of SA would need to carry an unabridged birth certificate.
Restrictions and lengthier procedures were also introduced for migrants seeking work in SA. These were especially harsh for workers from other African countries, with the department opposing the issuing of business visas at the port of entry for traders travelling from East Africa.
Not only have the new visa regulations triggered animosity within the government, especially between Gigaba and Hanekom, but they have affected other African countries, as well as international tourism coming from SA’s alleged “best friends”, Brics (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Meanwhile corruption is rampant in many home affairs offices.
Evidence of bribery was reported in a study by the African Centre for Migration and Society at Wits University and Lawyers for Human Rights, which showed how asylum seekers and refugees are regularly asked to pay officials not only to process their applications, but even to enter the premises. It is evident that the department does not excel in planning, nor does it do a good job at conducting regulatory impact assessments. This is despite all the money spent on consultants and “experts”.
Had it conducted a formal assessment, it would have immediately realised that the new legislation was likely to backfire. Why? For starters, South African embassies around the world are ill-equipped to issue visas on a large scale.
Their network does not cover all countries and consulates are few and far between, which means travellers would need to embark on a long journey (possibly even outside their own country) just to apply for a tourist visa.
Moreover, unabridged birth certificates are generally provided in the home language of the issuing country. As home affairs officials at SA’s ports of entry are unlikely to be fluent in Mandarin, Russian, Hindi, German or any other non-Anglo-Saxon language, the certificates need to be translated by sworn translators, which makes the whole process more cumbersome and adds the risk of fraud.
Gigaba has repeatedly declared that these restrictions are key to stopping child trafficking. Yet, this seems to run counter to common sense, as a decent policy evaluation would have immediately found. Indeed, the criminal organisations involved in child trafficking are very well resourced. They can easily bribe officials or forge certificates to travel around the world, especially if one considers the rudimentary nature of birth certificates. Any graphic designer with basic abilities could forge one at home.
The safest document for travel internationally is a passport. It is relatively hard to counterfeit and has features that can be scanned and checked by machines. Many countries issue passports to minors that indicate the names and details of their parents too.
Foreigners travelling with these “safer” documents will be denied entry to SA unless they have poorly translated, easy-to-forge birth certificates.
In an attempt to streamline the visa process in the country, the department established a partnership with a private company, VFS Global, which is now tasked with processing applications in SA.
Not only has this made the process very expensive for applicants (each application costs more than R1,300), it has not necessarily ensured more efficiency. It took my family two years to receive permanent residence, with the youngest of my children (the only one of us born in SA) being denied a permit because his medical certificate was lost in the process.
When I first applied, before the new legislation came into effect, it took less than a year to process my residence permit, at virtually no cost.
VFS takes no responsibility for mistakes: it is nothing but a very expensive monopolistic middleman.
So, what to do? First, the department should start issuing modern passports to all South Africans, including full details of parents for minors, thus making the need to carry a birth certificate obsolete.
Moreover, it should strengthen capacity and professionalism at all its offices. It makes no sense to direct money to a private company when the offices that ultimately process applications operate under duress. Applicants should be paying their fees directly to home affairs offices on condition that revenues are reinvested in the upgrade of facilities and in bonuses for employees, thus rewarding best practice.
Applications should be traceable via the internet and home affairs offices should be equipped with CCTV cameras streaming online, so that processes can be monitored by anyone and applicants can choose the best time to apply to avoid queues.
The resources so generated should also be used to subsidise free assistance for asylum seekers and refugees, thus eliminating the double standard of first-class applicants turning to fancy VFS offices and poor migrants having to pay bribes at local home affairs offices.
Above all, the department should recognise that migration is not only a fact of life, but a great resource for a diverse and dynamic economy (millions of rand are generated every day by their work, with billions in social security benefits often unclaimed). Migration becomes a security threat only when it is mismanaged and when migrants have to suffer abuse, which makes them easy prey for criminal organisations.
We need a totally different approach before the shortsighted South African “fortress” caves in, under the pressure of unregulated regional migration. Rather than disputing data and chastising critics, the department should start listening. And it should publicly apologise to foreigners for the way have been treated so far.

Aug 28, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Taxpayers face £500m bill to fly illegal migrants home: £200m will be spent on airline tickets alone as foreign criminals, overstayers and failed asylum seekers are kicked out

• Figures listed in Home Office tender asking companies to bid for contract
• Contract would be for five years and is based on estimated migrant figures
• Keith Vaz, from home affairs select committee, said figure was ‘enormous’
• In 2014, 12,460 failed asylum seekers and migrants were forcibly removed
By Steph Cockroft for Daily Mail – 27 August 2015
Taxpayers face a £500million bill to fly thousands of illegal migrants and failed asylum seekers home from Britain.
Some £200m is due to be spent on airline tickets and Home Office-chartered flights over the next five years to ensure foreign criminals, overstayers and rejected asylum seekers are flown home.
The figures emerged in a Home Office tender which invited private companies to bid for the ‘Escorting and Travel Services Re-Procurement Project’ contract.
Whitehall sources said figures were based on the estimated number of future migrants who have to be removed from the country via ‘safe and secure passage’, The Times reports. They added that the contract would probably last for five years.
Under the Immigration Act 1971 and the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, the Home Office is responsible for ‘detaining and/or enforcing the removal of detainees’ who have been sent to ‘Immigration Removal Centres and other locations from the United Kingdom’.
The tender says: ‘In order to facilitate the removal of detainees from the UK, it is necessary to provide sufficient escort and transportation staff to enable their safe and secure passage.
This will include vulnerable detainees, as well as those who refuse to leave the UK voluntarily and those being removed on chartered flights.
‘The total contract value for Escorting and Travel Services is estimated at £500m including travel ticket costs of approximately £200m.’
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons home affairs select committee, described the figure as ‘enormous’ and said it demonstrates ‘the lack of more robust policies to stop people arriving in the first place.’
Last year, 12,460 people were forcibly removed from the country, including 4,000 asylum seekers and more than 8,200 illegal immigrants and foreign criminals. A decade earlier, it was just 21,000.
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘Those with no right to be in the UK should return home. We expect people to leave the country voluntarily but, where they do not, we will seek to enforce their departure.’
Earlier this week, dozens of failed Afghan asylum seekers won a last-minute reprieve to stay in Britain.
Some 57 people were due to be deported on a plane chartered by the Home Office on Tuesday night.
But they were removed from the flight lists at the 11th hour after a legal challenge.
Lawyers for the illegal immigrants successfully argued that the Government could not return them to some of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, UK taxpayers will also have to pay for migrants at Calais to be flown to their home countries after Home Secretary Theresa May signed with her French counterpart.
The French border town of Calais has been overrun by migrants in recent months, all of whom are desperate to make it to Britain.
They are living in illegal makeshift camps, the central of which is known as ‘The Jungle’, as they plan their way across the Channel into the UK.
Families and individuals, largely from Africa, have been caught hidden on board lorries, cars and trains in their bids to make it to British shores.

Aug 28, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Fake Indian Birth Certificates in Documents Seized in South Africa

The New Indian Express – 27th August 2015
JOHANNESBURG: Scores of fake Indian birth certificates were among hundreds of documents seized by South African officials in King Williams Town after a man believed to be an Indian national was arrested along with a Ministry of Home Affairs official for running a scam.
The two unnamed men allegedly facilitated fraudulent marriages involving illegal foreign nationals, many of them from the Indian subcontinent.
The marriages were with local women, some allegedly paid large sums in the marriage of convenience racket to secure South African citizenship for the foreign migrants.
An investigation by the Home Affairs Counter-Corruption Unit, South African Police Services (SAPS) Crime Intelligence and the specialised intelligence unit Hawks led to the arrest of the two men.
A search of the house of the man, believed to be an Indian, led to the discovery of copies of passports, identity documents, marriage certificates, temporary residence permits, visitor’s permits, asylum seeker permits and many blank Home Affairs face value documents.
Other documents seized, include police clearance certificates and foreign birth certificates, mainly from India and Bangladesh which, were all confiscated.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba hailed the arrests as a significant step in the recently launched Operation Bvisa Masina, which seeks to stop the rot within the Department of Home Affairs.
“(The) arrests ought to serve as a deterrent and a warning to those who are involved in these unscrupulous acts which seek to undermine government’s efforts to deliver quality services to our clients. As government, we are sending a strong message of zero tolerance towards corruption in all its manifestations,” Gigaba said.
In recent years many local women have discovered to their shock that they are married to foreign men when they try to use their identity documents. Duplicate and stolen identity documents were found to have been used in many such cases.

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