Archive from May, 2018

Home Affairs looks to boost tourism by easing up visa requirements

Home Affairs looks to boost tourism by easing up visa requirements
2018-05-04 – The South African

The Department of Home Affairs is working hand in hand with Tourism, in an effort to boost the number of tourists coming to South Africa.
The controversial regulations around travelling with minors have also been addressed.
The two departments aim to achieve this by setting up a team of officials that will work to ease visa requirements for visitors.
This announcement was made by Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, alongside his counterpart at Tourism, Derek Hanekom on Wednesday.
“We have, therefore, agreed that we are going to establish a joint working team, composed of respective deputy directors general that are going to meet regularly and facilitate regular feedback to both of us jointly so that we can review the progress being made in this regard and take whatever executive decisions are required,” Gigaba said.
The talks between the two ministers also covered the controversial policy surrounding travelling of minors.
During his first stint as Minister of Home Affairs, Gigaba introduced regulations which required that children travelling alone or with a single parent present unabridged birth certificate or consent letters from both parents. This was implemented in 2015, and resulted in tourist numbers dipping.
According to Hanekom, this has been addressed and an announcement is set to be made in coming weeks.
“We are very close to an agreement on that, there are one or two things that have to be finalised and then we can make an announcement in this regard,” he said.
Gigaba also added that the two departments are looking to make travelling with minors easier.
“We’ve tasked our respective teams to look at additional measures that are going to make it easy for people to travel with minor children without compromising the security of children,” he said.
Home Affairs is also working towards the introduction of electronic visas.

Home Affairs : Rejection and Appeals: What to do when your application has been rejected.

Home Affairs : Rejection and Appeals: What to do when your application has been rejected.
As with any change there comes with it a lot of miscommunication and an increase in the number of failed applications. It appears that there has been a sharp increase in the number of visa and permit application being rejected and many prospective immigrants are left to wonder how on earth they can navigate this now even more complex immigration system.
The primary basis of appeals and review in the context of immigration is contained in the Act itself. Section 8 of the immigration act provides the basis on which applicants can appeal to either the Director General or the Minister to review any adverse decision made by the Department. Section 8(1) and 8(2) and deals primarily with decisions to refuse entry to a foreigner at a port of entry. These sections are often very contentious
Legal Basis of appeals and reviews
The above section provides that any adverse decision by the Department must be communicated in writing with reasons.
For this reasons applicant whose applications have been rejected have a right to be informed and be given written reasons. This section is given expression in the form of a Rejection letter issued by the Department.
Upon receiving the rejection letter the applicant has 10 working days (2 weeks) to appeal the decision. When can a Decision be appealed? An appeal is not a second chance to submit documents not submitted in the first application. It is not enough to simply supplement the documents submitted but there must be a ground to review the decision of the adjudicator based on the documents already present. In appealing the decision the applicant is saying to the Director General or Minister that “based on the documents I submitted in my original application this decision is wrong and must be reversed”
A decision that is biased, arbitrary, and capricious in nature can be appealed.
Bias: A decision is considered biased when it is influenced by a predisposition of the adjudicator. In this case the adjudicated forms an opinion based on factors outside the facts presented before him/her in the application. A common occurrence is found in the adjudication of work visa and spouse visa application where reference to high unemployment levels and prevalence of marriages of convenience are made.
Arbitrary: A decision is considered arbitrary when it has no legal basis and random. For instance where an application for a Spouse Visa with a work endorsement is rejected on the basis that the applicant did not provide a Labour Certificate. In this instant the Labour certificate is not a requirement for a Spouse Visa- Work Endorsement and therefore the decision is arbitrary because it has no legal basis. Many rejections are arbitrary and can be successfully appealed.
Capricious: quite similar to an arbitrary decision and often an arbitrary decision is also capricious but no always. A decision is capricious when it does not follow the law or logic and often whimsical in nature. For example, applicant A applies for a visa without providing proper authentication, a trend has developed and not application is ever denied on that basis. Applicant B applies without proper authentication and is rejected on that basis, while the decision may be correct it may be considered capricious due the sudden unexplained change.
How to appeal an adverse decision successfully?
Once it has been established that an adverse decision can be appealed an applicant can then prepare an appeal to that effect. It is important to put your case with as much detail as possible and attach all relevant documentation.
Appeals can be quite technical and where possible it is wise to seek the aid of a professional to assist you.
Final remarks.
If you are certain that the decision is wrong then a well thought out and prepared appeal will have an adverse decision reversed. It is unclear how long should the Director General or Minister take to consider an appeal but generally and in our opinion it should not take more than the time it take to consider an application. Reviewing a decision already made does not require the consideration of the entire application afresh but the points that are being challenged in the appeal. Legislation and the courts are yet to make pronouncements on how long is a reasonable period to wait for an appeal before the delay is considered unreasonable. Where such a delay occurs applicants will have recourse to the High Court as excessive delays are reviewable by the court
www.samigration.com

Home Affairs set to fast track e-Visa rollout

Home Affairs set to fast track e-Visa rollout
Thursday 3 May 2018 – Ewcn
– The Home Affairs Department wants to fast track the rollout of e-visas to increase the number of tourists visiting the country.
e-Visa will introduce the online capture of visa and permit applications and capture the applicant’s biometrics in South Africa and abroad.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has instructed the department to prioritise the fast-tracking of the new online e-Visa system.
An application will be captured and submitted online together with the required supporting documents that will be scanned and attached to the application.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said, “I have given an instruction to the department to prioritise the e-visas and to ensure that at the end of this financial year we make a very concrete announcement as to online visa applications as well as the issuance of e-visas.
“It is going to be very significant for us to improve our traveller numbers and to ensure that some of the passenger traveller processes we undertake upon arrival we can undertake online through the verification of the records and the documents that people require to travel to SA.
“We could simply in SA to make it easier for them.”
eNCA

Home Affairs & Tourism team up to ease visa requirements to boost tourism

Home Affairs & Tourism team up to ease visa requirements to boost tourism
Ewn -3 May 2018
CAPE TOWN – The Departments of Home Affairs and Tourism are setting up a dedicated team of officials to fast-track progress in easing visa requirements for visitors in order to boost the number of tourists to South Africa.
This was announced on Wednesday by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and his Tourism counterpart Derek Hanekom.
The pair had their first meeting on Wednesday morning since they were both returned to their portfolios in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first Cabinet reshuffle in late February.
Gigaba says the talks covered progress in efforts to simplify travel by minors, easing visa requirements for residents of Brazil Russia India China South Africa (Brics) countries and the introduction of electronic visas for incoming tourists.
“We have, therefore, agreed that we are going to establish a joint working team, composed of respective deputy directors general that are going to meet regularly and facilitate regular feedback to both of us jointly so that we can review the progress being made in this regard and take whatever executive decisions are required.”
Ewn -3 May 2018
CAPE TOWN – The Departments of Home Affairs and Tourism are setting up a dedicated team of officials to fast-track progress in easing visa requirements for visitors in order to boost the number of tourists to South Africa.
This was announced on Wednesday by Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and his Tourism counterpart Derek Hanekom.
The pair had their first meeting on Wednesday morning since they were both returned to their portfolios in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s first Cabinet reshuffle in late February.
Gigaba says the talks covered progress in efforts to simplify travel by minors, easing visa requirements for residents of Brazil Russia India China South Africa (Brics) countries and the introduction of electronic visas for incoming tourists.
“We have, therefore, agreed that we are going to establish a joint working team, composed of respective deputy directors general that are going to meet regularly and facilitate regular feedback to both of us jointly so that we can review the progress being made in this regard and take whatever executive decisions are required.”

Home Affairs to enforce legal immigrant employment

Home Affairs to enforce legal immigrant employment
it-online.co.za – May 2, 2018
Companies may expect “a knock on the door” from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to conduct required audits and investigations on their employment practices of immigrant workers, the director from the DHA’s corporate account unit, Ben Makhalemele has warned.
By Tasia Brummer, immigration specialist at Xpatweb
He made this statement while presenting at a recent event, alongside Moeketsi Seboko, Immigration Manager of Xpatweb, to highlight the latest updates and expected changes within the DHA, as well as the expectations of South African companies employing foreign nationals.
This follows the DHA having picked up several incidents of companies employing foreign nationals without proper vetting of the required work visas.
Makhalemele also urged employers to keep a copy of the Immigration Act, no 19 of 2002, as amended (the Act) on their premises to ensure that they are adhering and complying with the stipulated regulations when employing foreign nationals.
The Act evidently states that an employer may under no circumstances employ a foreign national without the correct visa. Although employers may never be certain on the validity of their foreign employees’ visas, it is recommendable to do an immigration audit to ensure they are currently compliant and that the necessary policies are put in place so that correct processes are followed with new foreign national employees.
Makhalemele further noted that the immigration system in South Africa is no longer purely dictated by the DHA and appealed to employers to give their input and cooperation to enable continuous improvement and thereby position the country to reach its economic goals.
After all, foreign nationals play an important part of the country’s success by bringing in the necessary skills required for high-demand projects. It is therefore imperative that employers understand the importance of their role within the South African Immigration law.
Employer duties and obligations
Makhalemele placed emphasis on the ‘Duties and Obligations’ of employers, reiterating that entities employing foreign nationals without the required valid work visa are viewed by the Department as knowingly “aiding and abetting” the illegal foreigner on their premises and will, therefore, be liable to certain penalties.
Presumably, the person whom will be deemed responsible for the aforesaid implications will be the Human Resource Manager and/or the person responsible for the company.

One strike, you’re out: The visa changes that could leave you facing a 10-year ban

One strike, you’re out: The visa changes that could leave you facing a 10-year ban

25 April 2018 – SBS News
New regulations mean anyone who submits incorrect information as part of an Australian visa application could be effectively barred from reapplying for a decade.
Just one mistake on your Australian visa application could carry “devastating” lifetime consequences, experts say, under new regulations introduced by the Federal Government this month.
Anyone who submits false or misleading material as part of a visa application – even unwittingly – faces being effectively barred from making a new application for 10 years. The previous penalty was just 12 months.
The material targeted includes inaccurate statements, omissions of fact, or lodging bogus documents such as bank records, work experience claims or false English language proficiency scores.
“[It] would have quite a devastating impact on any migrant who breached their rule of perfection in any manner whatsoever,” said Mary Crock, an immigration law specialist at the University of Sydney.
“If you’re denied that long then it’s going to become impossible to come to the country.”
An application lodged since November 18 may now be refused if fraud was detected on any earlier application made within the previous 10 years.
This replaces a 12-month period that had applied to those who withdrew their application once notified of suspected fraud – a way to avoid a potential three-year ban if that visa was subsequently refused.
The measure covers a range of temporary visa classes, including student visas, family visas and skilled migration classes, as well as any applications made by members of a person’s family.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection said the longer time frame was designed to target fraudsters who actively “wait out” the year-long exclusion period before trying again.
The Greens will next week seek support to overturn the new measures in the Upper House, branding them another front in the Immigration Minister’s “relentless attack” on migrant groups including temporary visa holders.
“This is a punitive and vindictive proposal from Peter Dutton that really is cracking a walnut with a massive sledgehammer,” Senator Nick McKim told SBS News.
Professor Crock said applicants negotiating Australia’s increasingly complex migration system already have little room for error. They would also face the penalty “even if they were unaware that a false document is being put in on their behalf,” she said.
“Where an individual has been affected by the fraud of a migration agent, for example, these regulations will now operate to bar them from making a valid application to come to Australia for 10 years,” she said.
Melbourne-based migration agent Jujhar Singh Bajwa said the changes were a “very good step” by the department to crack down on instances of fraud.
But, he said, they were also “very harsh” on those who make a simple mistake or unwittingly entrust the process to an unscrupulous agent, often those operating offshore.
“They tell the client what documents they require and then the trouble starts,” he said.
“Most [applicants] have no idea like what documents they need to submit, especially when it comes to the financial documents.”
Changes are ‘unfair’
An Indian national, who spoke to SBS World News on the condition of anonymity, said he withdrew an application last year when the department detected a suspect work experience document.
“It just was said by my agent that ‘if you put it, it will get assessed quickly’, so I said ‘okay, I’m fine with that’”, he said.
Now awaiting a 457 visa lodged in time to only attract the 12-month penalty, he is concerned the new 10-year ban would nonetheless make any future bid for permanent residency impossible.
“It’s maybe fair for [those] who genuinely did the wrong thing but it will be unfair for [those] who don’t know this mistake and someone else did for you,” he said.
A Department of Immigration spokesperson said the 10-year review period was “a necessary, reasonable and proportionate measure to protect the integrity of the visa framework”.
“It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure the documents and information in the visa application is truthful, even if a Migration Agent or third party is acting on their behalf,” the spokesman said.
“Decision makers can take into account whether or not the visa applicant deliberately submitted fraudulent documents.”
The department said applicants were given an opportunity “to comment on any adverse information that may lead to visa refusal.”
If a visa application is refused, an applicant can also seek a review of the decision through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Couple in limbo with ‘ghost’ child

Couple in limbo with ‘ghost’ child
Sunday Times – 29 Apr 2018

James Tomlinson and his wife, Sarah Nandutu, are raising a “ghost”, and they are expecting another.
The parents — from the UK and Uganda — likened their three-year-old son, Joshua, to a ghost this week because his birth registration is entangled in Department of Home Affairs red tape. So they went to battle Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba in court last year.
The outcome for the family is bittersweet — while their little boy will finally have the birth certificate they so sorely wanted, they failed to convince the High Court in Cape Town to amend immigration regulations that have prevented them from living as a family.
Tomlinson, a British citizen with a South African permanent residency permit, and Nandutu, a Ugandan citizen, could not register the birth because Nandutu only has a travel visa.
She was three months pregnant when she travelled to South Africa in February 2015. They got married and applied for a spousal visa but her appeal to both the department’s director-general and Gigaba failed.
This was because the Immigration Act does not allow people to change their visa status once they are in South Africa. But Nandutu could not return to Uganda because her child is undocumented. They then asked the high court to compel Gigaba to tweak the regulations and reconsider the application.
“At the moment, he [Joshua] is a ghost and we are expecting another one [in August],” said Tomlinson, who has been in South Africa since 2003.
“We are not able to travel as a family . . . Sarah’s family has never met Joshua. My father has been very ill and all they want is to meet my son.”
They are also unable to register Joshua in the local English-medium school without a birth certificate.
Nandutu, who has a degree in developmental studies, is unable to work or drive.
“Had they registered this child, that would have given me and my husband the freedom to go to Uganda and sort out everything from there,” said Nandutu. “I can’t travel with the child and I can’t leave the child. Our lives are in suspense. It is very frustrating.”
They were joined by another couple, accountant Ilias Demerlis and businessman Christakis Ttofalli, in instituting the lawsuit. Demerlis is from Greece, and Ttofalli is from Cyprus but has South African citizenship. They have been in a cohabitation agreement since 2013.
It has become very expensive for Demerlis to travel between Greece and South Africa to renew his travel visa. He waited for three years for the finalisation of his application — which was turned down — and he was prohibited from leaving the country while it was pending. The couple applied for a spousal visa at the South African embassy in Greece in 2014 but were told it could not be granted because they had been together for less than two years.
“I am frustrated,” Demerlis said. “My mother was sick for one year and I couldn’t get there. Luckily they extended my visa. I could travel there and she eventually died.”
Ttofalli, who has a bakery in Cape Town, has been in South Africa since 1985. He said: “[Demerlis] can’t sit home and do nothing. He will go crazy. How long can you sit at home? He had to wait two years. If we knew
I can’t travel with the child and I can’t leave the child. Our lives are in suspense Sarah Nandutu Ugandan citizen
the outcome earlier he could have got back to Greece and applied from there.”
This month, Acting Judge Daniel Thulare dismissed the joint application. But he ordered that the home affairs director-general “assist . . . Joshua in having his birth registered”. He granted Nandutu and Demerlis leave to appeal to Gigaba to reconsider their application and waive the prohibitive immigration regulations.
But Thulare said Nandutu’s marriage within two months of arriving in South Africa did not automatically qualify her for a spousal visa. “A registrable ritual to prove constitution of family, which is sealed by [Nandutu] kissing another, is simply not enough to except her to account for her health, social, economic and security risks to [the Republic of South Africa] and its people,” Thulare ruled.
He said Demerlis had failed to provide evidence he was capable of
supporting his spouse and that the bank statement he provided to home affairs was not certified.
But their lawyer, Gary Eisenberg, said the judgment was legally incompetent and that they were essentially back where they had started.
The Department of Home Affairs failed to respond to questions.

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