Browsing "Citizenship"

Unisys to provide Australia’s new biometrics travel platform – $44 million deal.

IT News – 19 March 2018
The Department of Home Affairs has selected IT provider Unisys to develop a new system that will match travellers and migrants, including visa and citizenship applicants, against biometric watch lists.
The $44.2 million deal will see Unisys replace the department’s existing Unisys biometric matching system, which has been in place for the last 12 years, with a new enterprise biometric identification services (EBIS) system.
Just over $95 million was allocated in last year’s federal budget for new technologies for “high volume” matching, storing, analysis, and sharing of biometrics like facial images and fingerprints.
Home Affairs will use the system to “identify people of security, law enforcement or immigration interest, while simultaneously facilitating the processing of legitimate travellers”, a Unisys statement reads.
The system will match facial images and fingerprints of “people wishing to travel to Australia, including visa and citizenship applications, against biometric watch lists”, alerting Border Force officers when intervention is required.
EBIS is based on Unisys’ Stealth identity platform, which the vendor says has been “designed for high-volume (more than 100,000 transactions daily) and large-scale (more than 100 million records) operations across multiple devices”.
Home Affairs says the number of facial images it has collected for immigration purposes since 2013 has tripled, and the number of collected fingerprints had grown by ten times.
The new system will also ingest data from Stealth to “support and run simulations”, and use a biometric matching engine from Idemia (formerly Morpho).
Unisys teamed up with Data61 in March last year to build a new data analytics solution capable of providing automated security risk assessments of travellers and cargo at borders. It is also behind Home Affair’s new border clearance platform.
Home Affairs assistant minister Alex Hawke said the new system would allow the department to “more accurately process and more effectively analyse biometric data from 100 percent of travellers”.
“The EBIS system will significantly increase our biometric collection and storage capability, giving us an even stronger platform to identify and protect Australia from individuals who might wish to do us harm,” he said in a statement.
“It will also help us to identify and facilitate a more seamless travel experience for people who present no risk.”
Unisys Asia Pacific vice president and managing director Tony Windever said the EBIS was designed to growth in border clearances, including visa and citizenship applications, for the next ten years.
“In the ten years 2006-2016, the number of Australian border crossings increased from 21.7 million per year to 37.7 million – a growth of almost 74 percent,” he said in a statement.
“This places pressure on border clearance staff to verify the identity of travellers and confirm they are who they say they are more quickly and more accurately to prevent delays, avoid queues and improve the experience for travellers arriving in and departing from Australia.”

Expect stricter requirements when applying for a Schengen visa: report

19 March 2018 – Bus Tech
South Africans travelling to certain European Union (EU) countries may now face stricter requirements when applying for a Schengen visa.
This is according to immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg who was speaking to Cape Talk’s Kieno Kammies after a number of listeners complained of extra requirements when applying for a Schengen visa to visit Spain.
Some of ways that these requirements have been tightened include an increased turn-a-round time, while certain documents need authorisation by the Spanish police, Eisenberg said.
The immigration expert said that additional requirements have been introduced after BLS International Services replaced VFS Visa & Permit Facilitation Centre as a new visa facilitation company for the country.
He said that BLS has its own proprietary standards when it came to applications, meaning that Spain had tightened its requirements when it comes to offering South Africans a Schengen visa.
When asked how other countries within the Schengen block were affected, Eisenberg said that there were no specific changes but rather an overall tightening of documentation from ‘high-risk’ countries such as South Africa.
“I think countries are becoming far more careful on documentation emanating from countries like South Africa which are seen as high risk for fraudulent documentation, and this is why Britain has imposed visa restrictions on South Africa, ” he said.
“We see on a daily basis foreigners living in South Africa with fraudulent visas and fraudulent identity documents, and this seems to be common place.
“So governments I think, are united in their drive to screen documents more carefully,” he said.
The 26 Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Visa requirements
While the Department of Home Affairs confirmed to BusinessTech at the end of January 2018 that visa-free travel to the EU was still being discussed for South Africa, the majority of European Union countries will not allow South Africans to enter without a Schengen or similar visa.
According to Arton Capital’s latest Passport Index, South Africans can currently apply for visa-free travel to 95 countries.
However, only Ireland forms part of mainland Europe, while several other countries such as Russia, Kosovo, Georgia and Armenia are given status as being part of “Eurasia”.
You can find the complete of list of countries for which South Africans do not require a visa, or only require a visa on entry below:

Visa-free entry
South Korea
St Vincent
Hong Kong
Palestinian territories
Costa Rica
Dominican Republic
Russian Federation
Lesotho Saint Kitts
El Salvador
Saint Lucia

Visa on arrival
Marshall Islands
Bolivia Guinea-Bissau
Cape Verde
Seychelles (visitor’s permit)

Electronic Travel Authority (eTA) entry
Ivory Coast
Sri Lanka

SA: Increasing jobs and ease of access in tourism sector possible

Tourism Update – 12 March 2018
South Africa’s Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, says increasing jobs and ease of access in the tourism sector is possible.
“Whatever we do in tourism, regarding increased arrivals, translates into a large number of jobs as it is an employment-intensive industry. It is not difficult. If we do the right things, it is achievable,” says Hanekom.
During the Power Lunch interview with CNBC Africa on March 9, Hanekom was responding to a question on the State of the Nation Address (SONA), in which President Cyril Ramaphosa alluded to doubling jobs in tourism from 700 000 to more than half a million.

Minister Hanekom also referred to the call by the President during his SONA to grow the economy by removing regulation barriers. He said if South Africa could make it simpler for international tourists to visit, the country would see an increase in tourist arrivals.
“Our challenges are: intensified marketing and making it easier for tourist to get to South Africa. This will translate into a large number of jobs, which will make a huge difference in [tackling] our unemployment,” said Hanekom.
He went on to emphasise the importance of discussions between the Departments of Tourism and transport on sufficient airlinks and direct routes between SA and other African countries, as part of making it easier and more affordable for people to visit SA.
As part of reducing barriers for travellers, Hanekom also said engagement with the Department of Home Affairs was critical in three areas – the regulations impacting on minors visiting SA; ease of obtaining a South African travel visa; and reviewing the countries that need visas for travel to SA.
“When the visa requirement for Russia was waived, we saw an increase of over 50% of travellers from Russia to South Africa,” said Hanekom, adding that when visas were introduced for New Zealand travellers to SA, there was a 17% decline in visitors. “The only reason for the decline in the numbers from New Zealand was the visa requirement. Therefore the engagement with Home Affairs is critically important,” concluded Hanekom.
This was recently reinstated by a poll conducted by Tourism Update, where readers voted on whether the implementation of electronic visas (e-visas) would have a positive impact on arrivals into SA. 89% voted ‘Yes’, whilst only 11% voted ‘No’.

SA arrival stats for 2017 commentary from Grant Thornton

21 Feb 2018 – Tourism Update
Stats SA released the 2017 tourism arrival statistics this afternoon. South Africa welcomed 10.29 million foreign tourists (visitors who stayed overnight) in 2017. This is up only 2% over 2016.
Lee-Anne Bac, Director: Advisory Services at Grant Thornton says: “This increase is unfortunately underwhelming and significantly below the global average of 7%.”
She added that although the number of overseas tourists (2.7 million) is up 7% in 2017, this growth was driven by excellent performance in the first half of the year. In the fourth quarter of 2017, Stats SA reveals that the number of overseas tourists increased by only 4%, and this figure was driven down by an increase of less than 1% in December 2017.
“We attribute the dramatic decline at the end of the year to the impact of the water crisis in Cape Town, coupled with South Africa’s strengthening currency,” continues Bac.
According to Stats SA, the number of African arrivals (7.6 million) is a mere 0,8% up in 2017 – driven by a significant decline in Q1 of 8%. For the remaining three quarters of 2017, African arrivals increased by 5% (Q2), 4% (Q3) and 4% (Q4) respectively.
“Overall, this level of growth is not good enough for meaningful change and these numbers will not contribute towards sustaining economic transformation,” says Bac. “We are encouraged however, by Minister Malusi Gigaba’s Budget speech this afternoon. In particular we welcome the SA Tourism budget increase from R1.14bn (€79.5mn) to R1.23bn (€85.8mn), an 8% increase – well ahead of inflation, and given that many budgets accelerated by less, we appreciate the commitment by Gigaba to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s SONA statement that we will ‘enhance support for destination marketing’.”
Key source countries with low growth/ declines in tourism numbers in 2017
UK: 0% (no growth over 2016). As the UK is a significant source market, no growth from this market has a big impact on total arrival figures.
New Zealand: down 24% in 2017. A clear indication of the impact of visa regulations on demand.
Nigeria: down 22%
China: down 17% (eroding half the growth from this market in 2016)
Key source markets with excellent growth in arrivals in 2017
Russia: up 51%.
France: 27%
Germany: 12%

Repositioning of Home Affairs to contribute to state security

SA News, 08 March 2018
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan says the repositioning of Home Affairs within the security cluster allows the department to effectively contribute to crime fighting, among other services.

The Deputy Minister said this when Ministers in the Security Cluster fielded questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

She was responding to a follow-up question by ANC MP Buoang Mashile who had asked, what benefits could be derived from the department’s repositioning into the security cluster.

“The security of the state is premised on a few things. The first is to secure borders and with the soon to be passed Border Management Authority, this aspect will certainly be given a boost.

“In addition, the repositioning of the department in the security cluster has brought increased cross-sectional cooperation and alignment, particularly with regard to those sectors in the criminal justice area where there are major dependencies on Home Affairs services in relation to crime fighting, managing prisoner populations as well as repatriations for example.

“Clearly, these are natural benefits to be had with this kind of repositioning,” she said.

The Deputy Minister fielded questions after Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba could not attend the sitting of the House due to health reasons.

Addressing MPs on Wednesday, the Deputy Minister said the aim of the repositioning of Home Affairs was also to build a modern and secure department.

“Our first priority is to ensure that the identity and civic status of all South Africans are secured on the population register.

“The second priority is to manage international migrations securely and efficiently.

“Thirdly, we hope by these efforts in terms of our modernisation digitisation efforts to build a solid platform to enable the state to improve its efficiencies and derive maximum benefits from scarce resources. The second part of the question – once the Boarder Management Bill is passed the department will in addition have a mandate of the security and necessarily this is a work in progress.”

Someone is acting on my behalf. How do they communicate with you?

Someone is acting on my behalf. How do they communicate with you?

If you want other people to receive documents for you, you have to authorise another person or nominate a migration agent to receive documents on your behalf via a power of attorney form

How will I know if my visa application has been approved?

How will I know if my visa application has been approved?

We will tell you or VFS or Embassy will let you know by email or sms
If the visa is granted, we will let you know:
• when you can use the visa
• when the visa will be inserted in your passport r
• any conditions attached to the visa.
If the visa is not granted, you receive a letter from VFS or Embassy advising:
• why the visa was refused
• your review rights (if any)
• the time limit for lodging an appeal (if applicable).