Archive from June, 2019
Jun 30, 2019 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Namibian Home affairs out of passports â€` again

The ministry is issuing `brown passports`, which are issued as an
alternative, and are fully compliant with normal international
standards. But some countries, especially in Europe, refuse to
recognise them.

The Namibian has also come across a tweet last week which read:
“Namibia, this non-passport book situation is bad, real bad Michael
Jackson. They have gone from saying July to saying September. What is
the truth? South Africa doesnt accept emergency travel docs fam”.

As a result, it was impossible for some Namibians who had travel plans
to visit these countries.

Another applicant, who refused to be identified, said she applied to
renew her passport which has expired last month, but has not been able
to get a satisfactory answer.

“If you call, you get different stories. One says the books are here,
next day another says cancel your trips, only in August. (It is)
frustrating,” she stressed.

However, applicants, especially those travelling abroad for medical or
other critical issues, are considered favourably.

The Namibian was not able to establish the backlog the ministry is
currently dealing with, although citizens who have approached the
newspaper said it dates back to March.

Director of immigration in the ministry, Nehemia Nghishekwa, yesterday
confirmed the shortage, but quickly added that the ministry is not in
a position to give an answer as they are working on a media statement,
which will be issued this week.

“We are issuing for critical or emergency travel,” he stated. He told
The Namibian that he is not aware of anyone who has not been able to
travel as a result of the documents they have issued as they are
handling each case as it comes.

The ministry last month announced that it is experiencing a low stock
of passport books, and appealed to citizens to acquire passports only
when absolutely necessary.

At the time, home affairs minister Frans Kapofi advised citizens to
only apply for a passport when it is needed, as some come back “for
renewal or replacement, but have never been [stamped] out of the country.”

Life-changing Court Order for refugees’ spouses and children handed down, day before World Refugee Day

Today, the day before World Refugee Day, the Western Cape High Court has handed down a landmark Court Order that is set to radically improve the lives of thousands of asylum-seeking families across South Africa.
The Order, confirmed by the court following successful negotiations between the Department of Home Affairs and civil society, pertains to children and spouses of asylum seekers and refugees living in South Africa.
Wives, husbands, children and other dependents of asylum-seekers and refugees are able to document themselves in South Africa as ‘dependents’ of the principle asylum applicant in a process commonly known as ‘family-joining’. This aspect of the Refugee Act – outlined at section 3(c) – means that refugee families can be documented together, ensuring their rights to family unity and dignity in South Africa. As refugees cannot return to their country due to conflict or persecution, maintaining a family unit that is documented together is an important part of building stability and ensuring proper refugee protection in South Africa.
However, many applicants had experienced barriers when trying to join family members in this way. Wives, husbands, children, and other dependents of asylum applicants and refugees have been left with no way to document themselves in South Africa. They have been forced into an undocumented state, placing them in a position that is vulnerable to exploitation, detention and arrest.
In reaction to this, civil society organisations Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town represented by the Refugee Rights Unit at UCT, and Advocate Suzanna Harvey, took the matter to court in 2016.
The order confirms a set of Standard Operating Procedures which have been agreed on between DHA and the applicants. As such, dependents are now able to apply to be documented as either through family joining or in om their own grounds, upon provision of certain documents, where possible, such as a marriage certificate or birth certificate – regardless of where the marriage or birth took place. Affidavits are to be submitted in the absence of such documents. This family joining is to be completed regardless of whether the dependents were included in the applicant’s original asylum application or not. Should there be “serious doubts” about the validity of a parents’ claim over their child, DHA can request a DNA test, which will then be assessed and possibly funded by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Administrative nuances aside, the ultimate success of this case is that asylum-seeking and refugee families can now fulfil their right to access documentation in South Africa. With documentation, these families no longer need to fear arrest and detention, can work legally, and can enrol their children in school without administrative barriers.

Jun 28, 2019 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Breaking New!!! Breaking News !!!!!! SA Spouse and child of South African you can now change onshore from tourist visa â€` no more family splits

The first applicant, Ms Nandutu, is a Ugandan citizen who resides with and is married to the second applicant, Mr Tomlinson, a South African permanent resident. The third applicant, Mr Demerlis, is a Greek citizen, who resides with and is in a life partnership with the fourth applicant, Mr Ttofalli, a South African citizen.
Ms Nandutu entered South Africa on a temporary visitor’s visa that was issued under section 11(1) of the Immigration Act (Act). At the time of entering South Africa, she was pregnant with Mr Tomlinson’s child. Several months later, Ms Nandutu married Mr Tomlinson and gave birth to their son. In order to be able to remain in South Africa with her husband and son, Ms Nandutu applied for a “spousal visa” under section 11(6) of the Act. Her application was rejected on the basis that in terms of section 10(6) of the Act, temporary visa holders are not able to apply for a change in visa status from within South Africa, and must make those applications from outside South Africa. Mr Demerlis’ application for a spousal visa was also rejected on similar grounds. She and Mr Demerlis could not even be accommodated under exceptions that make it possible for visa holders to apply for a change in visa status from within South Africa. That was because the exceptions did not cover their situation. The exceptions are contained in regulation 9(9)(a) of the Immigration Regulations.
The applicants approached the High Court to have regulation 9(9)(a) declared inconsistent with the Constitution. The applicants argued that the lack of an exception that catered for holders of visitors’ visas who are spouses or children of South African citizens or permanent residents limited their constitutional right to dignity. The High Court held that regulation 9(9)(a) did not infringe the right to dignity and was reasonably capable of being read consistently with the Constitution. It thus dismissed the application. Aggrieved by the High Court’s finding, the applicants applied for leave to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court.
The main issue before the Constitutional Court was whether regulation 9(9)(a) is constitutionally invalid to the extent that it does not extend “exceptional circumstances” to include “where the applicant is a foreign spouse or child of a South African citizen or permanent resident”. The Minister and Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs opposed the application. They argued that regulation 9(9)(a) is connected to a reasonable and rational government purpose. They also argued that the provision is not constitutionally invalid, as the applicants and persons in their position were able to apply directly to the Minister, under section 31(2)(c) of the Act, to waive the requirement to apply for a change in visa status from outside South Africa.
The majority judgment, penned by Mhlantla J and concurred in by Cameron J, Jafta J, Khampepe J, Madlanga J, Nicholls AJ and Theron J, allowed the applicants to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court. The majority declared regulation 9(9)(a) invalid and inconsistent with the Constitution, in that it unjustifiably limits the constitutional right to dignity and the right that a child’s best interests are paramount in every matter concerning the child. The majority relied on the Constitutional Court’s previous judgment in Dawood. In that case, the Court dealt with a legislative regime that required foreign spouses to have valid temporary residence permits in order to apply for immigration permits that would allow them to reside permanently in South Africa. The legislation required that an applicant be outside the country at the time of the grant of an immigration permit. The legislation also created an exception to this in relation to, amongst others, spouses and dependent children. An applicant also had to be the holder of a valid temporary residence permit right up to the time of the grant of the immigration permit. A difficulty arose from the fact that the issuing of this temporary residence permit was subject to the exercise of a discretion by immigration officials. And this the Court held to be unconstitutional as there was no legislative guidance on how the discretion was to be exercised. Also, the Court held the entire regime to be constitutionally invalid, as it unjustifiably limited the right to dignity by creating an onerous burden on families who would have to separate as a result. This, the Court found, created practical and physical barriers to the enjoyment of one’s familial rights (and, by extension, one’s human dignity), and also obstructed a spouse’s ability to carry out fundamental aspects of their spousal obligations and the ability to live together. Relying on this Dawood holding, the majority in this matter concluded that regulation 9(9)(a) limited the right to dignity and right that a child’s best interests are paramount in every matter concerning the child. The majority further held that the first and second respondents had failed to show that this limitation was reasonable or justifiable.
In respect of remedy, the majority held that an order suspending the constitutional invalidity of the regulation, coupled with an interim reading-in, was appropriate. The majority reasoned that this remedy provides immediate relief to the applicants and those in similar positions, whilst respecting the separation of powers by granting the Legislature an opportunity to cure the invalidity. Accordingly, the majority declared regulation 9(9)(a) constitutionally invalid, suspended the declaration of invalidity for 24 months and ordered a reading-in on an interim basis of words that have the effect of adding to the exceptions under the regulation spouses or children of South African citizens or permanent residents. The effect of this reading-in was that, during the period of suspension, spouses or children of South African citizens or permanent residents would not have to depart from South Africa when applying for a change in visa status.
The minority judgment, penned by Froneman J and concurred in by Mogoeng CJ and Ledwaba AJ, differed on the interpretation of Dawood, finding that it had limited application in this matter as it centered on the lack of a guided discretion in deciding when to grant temporary visas. Section 21(3) of the Constitution provides that “[e]very citizen has the right to enter, to remain in and to reside anywhere in the Republic”. Non-citizens do not have a constitutional claim to enter, remain and reside in South Africa and, when they visit the country, visitors cannot legitimately expect to be granted those rights in the absence of cogent information that they may be endangered or prejudiced by a policy requiring them to return home. The minority would have thus dismissed the appeal.

SA’s visa regime hampering trade, tourism ambitions

China’s top diplomat in South Africa, Ambassador Lin Songtian, said Pretoria’s existing visa and permit laws for non-citizens do not support the country’s ambitious drive to double tourist arrivals. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo/ANA
Cape Town – China’s top diplomat in South Africa, Ambassador Lin Songtian, on Friday said Pretoria’s existing visa and permit laws for non-citizens do not support the country’s ambitious drive to double tourist arrivals and attract investors to boost the economy.
“The headache issue for the tourist and investor here … it’s very hard to get a visa to South Africa. His Excellency [President Cyril Ramaphosa] addressed that question last night [during the State Of The Nation Address],” Ambassador Lin said as he addressed journalists at the Cape Town International Convention Centre after the signing ceremony of more than 90 trade agreements.
“Given the size and scope of China-South Africa cooperation and bilateral trade … I’m sorry to tell you that you have only three visa officials in China. How can you expect one million tourists to come to South Africa? Only three visa officials in China, and we have long queues to wait for the visa.
“If it’s hard for them [tourists] to get a visa, that means you are refusing them to come. If they cannot come here as tourists, how can they come here as investors? So that question is not difficult, it’s a technical issue and I’m happy to be informed that the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs has already taken a decision to send more visa officials to China. I was very happy when I was informed this morning.”
Lin said it remains “more difficult for a foreign investor to get a work permit” in South Africa.
“It’s difficult for a high-tech company like Huawei … a leading company of technology in the world. Up to today, they complain to me again and again that they cannot get work permits. In my view, for such a high-tech company like Huawei, or a major investment like the Coega Automobile, it is very important to provide the necessary work permits to some of their key technical and high level management personnel.”
Lin said Chinese companies were creating much needed jobs for the South African population but that some of the executives had to be brought from China, a costly exercise for the entities.
Delivering his State of the Nation Address on Thursday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africa intends to double its tourist arrival to 21 million by 2030. Some of the ways he hopes to achieve this are through the renewal of the country’s brand and the introduction of a world-class visa regime.
“We will make good on our ambition to more than double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030. This will be achieved through the renewal of the country’s brand, introducing a world-class visa regime and a significant focus on Chinese and Indian markets and air arrivals from the rest of our continent,” said Ramaphosa in Parliament.

Man travels to S Africa on fake visa, deported

A Shahpur resident living in South Africa was deported to India after officials at the Johannesburg airport found that that his visa was fake. He is currently in custody of Airport police.

According to the complaint filed by immigration officer Narendrakumar at Airport police station, 33-year-old Aswat Mohammad had travelled to South Africa in 2011 on a visitor visa and reportedly took asylum there on the grounds of “weaker economic status in India and being a Muslim”. He then started working in Johannesburg on a work permit. There he applied for extension of his visa which was rejected by South African authorities in 2017. He told officials that he had given his passport to an agent named Altaf for visaformalities in South Africa who returned his passport with a visa sticker.

He lived in South Africa for around 18 months after that. He came to India in November 2018 and returned to South Africa on June 20 this year. However, during checking at Johannesburg airport, his visa was found to be fake. He was detained and kept in police custody and later deported back to Ahmedabad. There, he washanded over to Airport police. Aswat claimed he was unaware that the visa sticker he obtained from Altaf was fake. Airport PI K C Rathwa told Mirror, “We have registered the case and the accused (Aswat) will be produced in court.”

Trump Delays Mass U.S. Deportations for Two Weeks

President Donald Trump reversed course on mass deportations of undocumented immigrants on Saturday, tweeting that he had decided to delay deportations by two weeks “at the request of Democrats.” The announcement came after he had tweeted a stern warning ahead of the anticipated deportations of 2,000 people to be carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Sunday.
“The people that Ice will apprehend have already been ordered to be deported,” he tweeted early Saturday morning. “This means that they have run from the law and run from the courts.
These are people that are supposed to go back to their home country. They broke the law by coming into the country, & now by staying.” NBC reports that the I.C.E. officials will seek out families who are on deportation lists but have so far not said where the raids will take place. City leaders in Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles, which have large numbers of migrant families, issued statements protesting the plans.

What is Libra? A guide to Facebook’s cryptocurrency

Users will soon be able to send and receive payments across Facebook and WhatsApp
Facebook has finally announced its new cryptocurrency Libra, designed to allow the billions of users on its platform to send and receive payments without the need for a banking intermediary.
The token, which is a form of stablecoin and notably differs from the likes of Bitcoin, is specifically targeting those people who are unable to access traditional banking services, in a move that’s likely to prove a major disruptor in the money transfer market.
While it has been speculated for some time that the company was working on some form of cryptocurrency, tied to its own blockchain, until now, we’ve had very little in the way of detail.
So what exactly do we know about Libra?
What is Libra?
Libra, named after the Roman weight measurement, is Facebook’s new stablecoin that will let one user send a money transfer to another user across the social network. All that’s needed is a Libra digital wallet to send and receive funds – the system does not rely on any traditional banking methods.
Effectively, Libra is reminiscent of the buzz that followed Bitcoin when it first gained traction. Like Bitcoin, it is designed to function as an alternative to banking, specifically for people unable to reach financial services but equally for those who are distrustful of banks.
However, before you start recalling the wild price fluctuations of Bitcoin, Facebook’s cryptocurrency is a stablecoin, as we speculated would be the case in March. This means the value of Libra will be tied to fiat currencies, like the dollar or euro, and will, therefore, be protected against wild swings in value. It also functions less like Bitcoin, which is seen as much as a digital currency as it is an investment opportunity, and more like a digital token – it simply represents ‘real’ money for the purpose of a transaction.
How is Libra supported?
Facebook has been developing its own blockchain for some time, and has over the past year worked with partners to develop the Libra Association, an open source non-profit that operates the Libra blockchain and manages the funds tied to the Libra token.
Each founding member of the blockchain holds responsibility for a validator node on the network, meaning each organisation is in charge of ensuring payments are secure and accurate. If you want to find out more about how blockchain networks operate, we have an in-depth guide.
Facebook has established a subsidiary called Calibra, through which it has joined the association (and developed an app). Booking Holdings, eBay, Lyft, Uber, Spotify, Farfetch, and Mercado Pago have all signed up to the association, alongside payment providers Mastercard, PayPal, Visa, Stripe and PayU.
Telecoms providers Vodafone and Iliad, cryptocurrency platform Coinbase, and a number of venture capital and non-profit organisations have also signed up to the association.
It’s believed that each member was required to pay $10 million to sign up to the association and that it has around $1 billion to put towards the support of the new currency.
Facebook has said that although it was responsible for creating the Libra association and blockchain, the company will relinquish leadership of the group once it launches fully in 2020. At that point, each member will have equal voting rights as part of a council governing the Libra Association, the body established to help shape the direction of the association and Libra policy.
How do I use it?
Facebook is developing a standalone digital wallet through its subsidiary Calibra, the app for which is due to arrive at some point in 2020. This will connect to Facebook and WhatsApp directly to allow users to send and receive payments across the platforms.
It’s also likely that you will be able to pay for services provided by a handful of external vendors, including those already signed up to the association. It’s possible you will be able to pay for Uber and Lyft rides using your Calibra wallet app, as well as Spotify subscriptions.
Facebook will make money from Libra by placing a charge on each transfer, much like how cryptocurrency exchanges operate. However, it has also indicated that these charges could be transferred to the vendor, and it will be up to them whether they recover these from users or absorb them as part of the service.
Will Libra be safe?
Facebook has said that Libra will use “all the same verification and anti-fraud processes that banks and credit cards use, and we’ll have automated systems that will proactively monitor activity to detect and prevent fraudulent behavior”.
The Libra blockchain is also said to be immune from issues such as double spending, where a user may attempt to trick the network that funds had been sent when in fact they haven’t. It does this by using what it calls the LibraBFT protocol, which allows any user on the network to see what transactions have taken place and look for anomalies.
Facebook has also said that a live support system will be in place to help users with problems such as lost devices or passwords. It has also guaranteed that if your digital wallet is compromised, any lost tokens will be refunded to your account.
Libra will also benefit from having an open source foundation, which includes the code for its blockchain. This means that a community of security researchers and developers will be able to constantly assess the network for vulnerabilities and advise on updates as and when they are needed. Facebook has also confirmed there will be a bug bounty scheme attached to the ongoing maintenance of the network.