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Demystifying birth certificate reg changes for travellers to SA

Tourism Update – 12 December 2018

There has been much confusion surrounding the amendments to the unbridged birth certificate (UBC) requirements for visitors coming to South Africa from abroad, as gazetted on November 30, and coming into effect on December 1.
The SA Department of Tourism is liaising with the airline industry, and will communicate further when the airlines have updated their systems and are ready to board passengers according to the amended regulations.
However, Iata has accepted these new regulations and has confirmed this in writing with the Department of Home Affairs. Iata has further confirmed that the amended regulations, which follow the practice of countries such as the UK and Canada, do remove the requirement for airlines to verify documentation of minor travellers [other than when they are travelling alone].
The Department of Tourism has offered this deconstruction of the UBC amendments,
Foreign minors – visa-exempt countries
Parents travelling with minors from visa-exempt countries will need the following documentation:
• Copies of original documents are sufficient and need not be certified
• Consent and authorisation in the form of a letter which needs not be notarised or be an affidavit
• Children travelling with both parents need no extra documentation, however if there is a situation where the surname is different, carrying proof of parental relationship is advised
• In the event of a minor not travelling with both parents, but travelling with an adult, other documentation may be requested and it is strongly advised – this could be in the form of a birth certificate and other supporting documents such as a letter of consent, court orders or death certificate(s) as appropriate. A period of 24 hours is provided for to acquire such documents on arrival if they are requested and are not in the traveller’s possession
• In the event of a minor travelling alone, additional documentation must be carried
• A birth certificate (copy) to satisfy the immigration processes should contain details of the parent(s)
Foreign minors – countries where visas are required
• The requirements for children travelling with only one parent or another adult from countries that require visas have not changed. This means that they have to produce the documentation on application for a visa, and a copy of a birth certificate will be required when applying for any child visa
• Should the adult(s) travelling with a child on a visa change from what was stated on the visa application due to unavoidable short-term circumstances, the travelling adult(s) are also advised to carry the same documentation as above (for visa-exempt travellers)
Child travellers and accompanying adults will only be stopped and asked questions, and possibly be required to provide additional documentation in exceptional cases where there may be grounds for suspicion or in ‘high-risk situations’.
The statement published by the Department of Tourism reads: “The above is outlined in the September 25, 2018, press statement of the then Minister of Home Affairs, when he stated that ‘our immigration officials will only insist on documentation by exception – in high-risk situations – rather than for all travellers, in line with practice by several other countries’.”
Travel advice for trade and customers
• Minor traveller documentation requirements are in line with international countries, including Canada and the UK.
• If travelling with a child (under 18) and not the child’s parent, or may appear not to be the parent…it is recommended that one carries evidence of one’s relationship with the child and/or the reason why travelling with the child. This evidence could include copies of:
o A birth or adoption certificate indicating relationship with the child
o Divorce/marriage certificates if one is the parent but has a different surname to the child
o A letter from the child’s parent/s giving authority for the child to travel with the adult and providing contact details if the guardian is not the parent
The new regulations are in line with the recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Committee led by then Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa which were finalised in October 2015.
Their recommendations were followed by the statement: “This would remove the obligation from airlines to verify documentation. Immigration officers will retain the discretion to, at random, request additional evidence and that suspicious individuals may be questioned and additional information sought on their circumstances and corroborated.”

Millions of Japanese homes are abandoned, and owners are giving them away for free

Business Insider US – Dec 11, 2018,
• Japan’s rural and suburban communities are littered with unoccupied or deserted homes, which have little to no resale value.
• This surplus of abandoned real estate has caused many owners to start giving away homes for free on online databases.
• Some local governments are even offering subsidies for people to tear down the structures.
• There are many reasons why the homes are unoccupied, including the shrinking size of Japan’s population and buyers’ superstitions.
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Japan’s home prices may be rising, but the country still has more than 8 million unoccupied properties, so many that owners have started giving them away for free.
In some cases, local governments are even offering subsidies for people willing to tear down homes and build new ones, according to The Japan Times.
Though many properties aren’t listed on the market, they do appear on online databases called “akiya banks,” a reference to the Japanese word for “empty home.” While some of these properties are being given away, others are being sold for as little as $4 (under R60).
Those outside Japan can purchase the properties without a residence visa, though it’s much easier to find financing if you have one, or have at least worked in the country.
Many of the homes are dilapidated – a product of the shoddy construction methods used during the postwar housing boom in the 1960s. These prefabricated structures have a lifespan of just 20 to 30 years, according to The Guardian. A number of them are also built on sloping land, making them structurally unsound.
But there are bigger reasons why no one seems interested in buying.
Japan’s population is shrinking, with researchers predicting the loss of about 16 million citizens in a little more than two decades. Its residents are also trending older, meaning there are fewer young people trying to nab property – particularly in suburban or rural areas.
The phenomenon has carried over into urban areas as well. The Japan Times reported that more than one in 10 homes in Tokyo are now empty.
Though there’s certainly a demand for property in cities, Japan’s real-estate market actually encourages the demolition of buildings. Property taxes are six times higher on land with a physical structure as opposed to a vacant lot.
While this problem could be addressed by government incentives, reversing the mindset of local buyers may be a difficult task.
In Japan, it’s often considered bad luck to purchase a home that has witnessed a murder, suicide, or “lonely death” (one that occurred in isolation). Many would prefer to abandon these stigmatised properties than invest in sordid land.
A few realtors have sidestepped superstitions by performing rituals and incorporating feng shui into their renovations. But, to many owners, the homes simply aren’t worth the investment. Even the akiya banks haven’t resulted in many sales.
For a time, there was a possibility that a new home-sharing law would allow Airbnb and other services to take over the properties. When the law arrived in June, however, it imposed severe restrictions, like capping the rental period to 180 days. Airbnb hosts have fled the market ever since.
In the meantime, Japanese home buyers have continued to prioritise new homes, and its millions of “akiyas” have remained just that: empty.

Business tourism, a proven success for the Western Cape

12 December 2018 – Tourism Update
The Western Cape’s Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer, has applauded the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) for yet another successful year, following its Annual General Meeting which was held on Tuesday morning (December 11).
The convention centre has grown revenue by 14.2% and increased the number of events held from 482 in the previous year to 525 in 2018.
Schäfer said: “The CTICC made a R3.1 billion (€189m) contribution to the Western Cape economy in the 2017/18 year and created 8 553 direct and indirect jobs. It has also played an important role in the development of small business in the province. In the 15 years that the convention centre has been operating, it has procured over R1 billion (€61m) worth of goods and services from small, medium and micro enterprises and, currently, 40% of its supplier based is made up of women-owned enterprises.”
The CTICC opened its expanded CTICC 2 earlier this year and, as a result, has managed to secure the biggest conference to ever be hosted in Cape Town – the World Ophthalmology Conference, which will host 15 000 delegates in the city in 2020.
“The investment in the CTICC’s expansion is already starting to pay off, as the centre secures more and bigger conferences, highlighting the important role of infrastructure-led economic growth in our province. The CTICC is jointly owned by the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government and the business sector and its development and expansion is an important economic catalyst in the province,” added Schäfer.
A total of 454 338 people attended the 525 events hosted at the CTICC this year, which included 32 international conferences attracting 35 960 delegates and 35 national conferences which attracted 15 106 delegates. It hosted 121 special events attended by 132 854 people, and 11 exhibitions that saw 179 523 passing through its doors.
“The business tourism sector is an important niche market for the development and growth of tourism in our province. The CTICC was responsible for generating an additional 640 666 room-nights during the 2017/18 year and contributed R681 million (€41.6m) in foreign exchange earnings,” said Schäfer.
Kwakye Donkor, CEO of Africa Tourism Partners (ATP), said when it came to business tourism, the socio-economic impacts were higher as delegates tended to have extra money to spend. “It also contributes hugely to knowledge sharing, opportunity for foreign direct investment, destination brand building and more.”
Schäfer went on to say that Cape Town had recently been named the world’s best festival and events destination, and the CTICC, which has played host to iconic events such as the International Jazz Festival, major consumer and trade shows, exhibitions, and some of the world’s leading conferences, had played an important role in the region being able to claim such a title.
According to Donkor, the Western Cape ticked all the boxes in terms of being a global Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destination, with its quality infrastructure, its pre- and post-MICE activities, proactive and effective stakeholders, quality and standard of its accommodation offerings, transport, ambience, unique experiences, heritage and leisure, as well as attractions. “The sky is the limit given the diverse nature of the province’s MICE tourism offering and general leisure tourist attractions,” he said.
“I applaud all of those at the CTICC, the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Government, Wesgro and in the tourism sector, who have worked so hard over the past year to ensure that the convention centre remains one of the premium convention and events destinations in the world, and that its success translates into opportunities for the people of the Western Cape,” concluded Schäfer.

The only immigration option for South Africans

With South Africans emigrating in record numbers, Canada is the surprising new destination for many South Africans.
Over the past two years, South African residents have been in the top ten immigrants to Canada by country of origin under the Express Entry system.
This is not surprising given the fact that the number of people trying to immigrate to Canada has risen over 65% since 2017. Canada is appealing for many reasons, including universal healthcare, top-ranking public education, low unemployment and a welcoming immigration policy.
Canada offers a wide variety of options for those looking to emigrate from South Africa. Some may be temporary, while other are permanent and can be a pathway to Canadian Citizenship.
Visit Visas
The first option for South Africans is a visit visa. This allows individuals to visit Canada for up to six months at a time to explore the country and see if they like it. The cost for this visa is $185 CAD (which includes biometrics). For those who decide that they like Canada and would like to move there, there are several different options which can be explored.
Work Permits
The first option for those wanting to move to Canada is a work permit. This allows the applicant to live and work in Canada for a limited period of time (typically one – two years).
After working in Canada, the applicant may then be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency under one of several immigration programs. In order to be eligible for a work permit, the applicant would need to have a job offer from a Canadian employer who is willing to support their application.
This may involve proving that they have tried to recruit locally (in Canada) and could not find a Canadian to fill the position. The Work permit fee is $240 CAD (which includes biometrics). If the worker is married, in some cases their spouse can be issued with an open work permit. Any dependent children would also be eligible to accompany their parent.
Study Permits
For those looking to pursue their studies in Canada, they can apply for a Canadian study permit. This would allow them to study in Canada, and in most cases work up to twenty hours per week. If the applicant is married, their spouse can go with them and would be issued with an open work permit. Dependent children can also accompany the applicant.
After studying in Canada, the applicant may then be eligible to apply for a Post-Graduation Work Permit which would allow them to work for any employer in Canada in any occupation. These can be issued for up to a three-year period (based on duration of program of study).
After studying and working in Canada, many applicants are then eligible to apply for Permanent Residency under one of several different immigration programs. The Work permit fee is $235 CAD (which includes biometrics)
Permanent Residency
Canada offers numerous different ways to apply for Permanent Residency without requiring a job offer. This includes making an application under the family class, one of the economic classes or one of the provincial nomination programs. Application fees are typically $1,125 CAD per adult applicant.
Family Class
The family class allows Canadian Citizens and Permanent Residents over the age of 18 who are living in Canada or are planning to live in Canada once their family member arrives in Canada to sponsor their family members for Permanent Residency.
Sponsoring certain family members requires that the sponsor meet a certain yearly income in order to apply. Relations you can sponsor to Canada under the family class include:
• Spouse / Common-Law Partner / Conjugal Partner
• Parent (including adoptive parents)
• Child
• Grandchild
• Brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, or grandchildren who are orphaned AND are under 18 AND do not have a spouse or common-law partner
A Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident can also sponsor any one relative to Canada, regardless of age, but only if they do not have a living relative who is one of the following AND they do not have any other living relatives who are a Canadian Citizen, Canadian Permanent Resident or a Registered Indian:
• Your spouse/common-law/conjugal partner
• Your child
• Your parent
• Your grandparent
• Your sibling
• Your aunt or uncle
Economic Classes for Express Entry
Express Entry is the online application system used by anyone applying under the Federal Skilled Worker, Federal Skilled Trades, Canadian Experience Class or certain Provincial Nominee Programs.
These programs target foreign nationals who are highly skilled and have at least one year of full time paid skilled work experience, have experience working in certain trades for two years or longer in the past five years, have already worked in Canada for one year or longer in a full-time paid skilled position, or have work experience in certain occupations which are in demand in specific parts of Canada. These applications can be processed in six months or less.
Other Economic Classes
Canada has many other options for those who cannot apply through the Express Entry system. They tend to be more complicated and take longer to process. They include specific programs for entrepreneurs, those looking to start a business in Canada, those looking to invest in Canada, those already working in Canada on a valid work permit, those who have completed an educational qualification in Canada or those with a job offer from a Canadian employer.
Citizenship
In order to apply for Canadian citizenship, you need to hold Canadian permanent residency status and need to have spent a total of 1095 days in Canada within a five-year period before applying.
Most applicants will also be required to prove that they have filed personal income tax in Canada for three years within the five years before applying, that they have passed a Canadian citizenship test and that they are proficient in French or English. Canada allows dual citizenship, which means you do need to renounce your current citizenship in order to obtain it unless your country of origin requires you to.
With so many different pathways for people to immigrate to Canada, its popularity is sure to increase in the coming year. With other popular destinations for South Africans becoming more restrictive, Canada is fast becoming the best option for those South African looking to emigrate.

MI6 chief echoes concerns over Chinese tech

Alex Younger says the UK needs to decide how comfortable it is with “Chinese ownership of these technologies”
The Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), Alex Younger, has expressed concern over China’s involvement in the UK’s technology infrastructure.
In a rare speech, the head of MI6 said the UK needs to decide how comfortable it is “with Chinese ownership of these technologies”.
It’s only the second public talk Younger has given during his four years in charge at MI6 and was made during his return to St. Andrew’s University, where he had previously studied.
The main reason for the speech was to inspire students to consider a career with the British secret service. As part of his talk, Younger spoke about his journey from the university to becoming a spy to being made the chief of MI6 and the “hybrid threat” the UK deals with.
In what could be an extract from a James Bond film, Younger spoke about his first mission with the organisation in the mid-90s, penetrating an organisation which was “intent on genocide” in the Western Balkans. Younger acknowledged that operations were largely conducted by individuals in those days, as the story of his first mission suggested.
“We now operate dynamic teams that draw on skills and knowledge across the whole of SIS: bringing together the formidable talents of our agent recruiters and runners, our analysts, our subject matter experts, our linguists, our data scientists and our technical and engineering officers – known to the public as Q branch,” he said.
“Alongside our core mission of revealing the intentions of adversaries and giving the UK government strategic advantage overseas, our task now is to master covert action in the data age.”
Younger said that the world was in the early stages of a fourth industrial revolution that will “further blur the lines between the physical, the digital and biological realms”. He cited technology such as bulk data, modern analytics and machine learning as being a golden opportunity for society at large, including for MI6 as an organisation, but the opportunity could be exploited.
“I have also witnessed the damage new technologies can do in the hands of a skilled opponent unrestrained by any notion of law or morality, as well as the potentially existential challenge the data age poses to the traditional operating methods of a secret intelligence agency,” he said.
“We and our allies face a battle to make sure technology works to our advantage, not to that of our opponents. Liberal democracies should approach this with confidence, as the originators of this technology.”
Younger was asked about the role of China in building new 5G communications networks after concerns were raised that the country’s infrastructure could open the way for some kind of espionage or even sabotage.
New Zealand recently announced it would not allow Chinese firm Huawei to be involved in the country’s tech landscape, which falls in line with the US, who has allegedly asked allies to ditch the Chinese telecoms giant.
Huawei has been involved in previous UK communications infrastructure projects, which Younger expressed some concern about.
“We have got some decisions to take here,” he said. “We need to decide the extent to which we are going to be comfortable with Chinese ownership of these technologies and these platforms in an environment where some of our allies have taken a quite definite position.
“We need to have a conversation. It’s not wholly straightforward.”

South Africans can visit these 94 countries without a visa in 2019

Arton Capital, a provider of residency and citizenship solutions, has released its latest Passport Index – a system that ranks travel documents by the number of countries that can be visited without having to apply for a visa.
In a surprising shake-up, the United Arab Emirates has replaced Singapore as having the most valuable passport in the world.
At the start of November, four new countries were added to its visa-free list bringing the total to 167.
Singapore (167) and Germany (166) round up the top three, with the top of the list dominated by European countries.
While South Africa ranks 44th on the overall list, it has shown steady annual improvements – rising to 94 countries in 2018 from 90 countries at the end of 2017.
This number could increase even further in 2019 as the Department of Home Affairs plans to implement a range of visa changes to encourage foreign investment and travel.
South Africa is negotiating visa waiver agreements for ordinary passport holders with a number of countries, as well as simplifying visa requirements for countries such as China and India.
This may result in reciprocal arrangements which could see these countries lower the requirements for South African tourists.
These countries include:
• Algeria;
• Egypt;
• Morocco;
• Sao Tome & Principe;
• Tunisia;
• Saharawi-Arab Democratic Republic;
• Ghana;
• Saudi Arabia;
• United Arab Emirates;
• Qatar;
• State of Palestine;
• Iran;
• Lebanon;
• Bahrain;
• Oman;
• Kuwait;
• Belarus;
• Georgia;
• Cuba.
Below are the countries South Africans can currently visit without a visa heading into 2019.
Visa-free/30 days
Angola Costa Rica Guyana Lesotho Panama St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Antigua and Barbuda Dominica Haiti Macao Paraguay Tanzania
Argentina Dominican Republic Honduras Malawi Peru Thailand
Bahamas Ecuador Hong Kong Malaysia Philippines Trinidad and Tobago
Barbados El Salvador Indonesia Mauritius Qatar Tunisia
Belize Eswatini Ireland Micronesia Russian Federation Uruguay
Benin Fiji Israel Mozambique Saint Kitts and Nevis Vanuatu
Botswana Georgia Jamaica Namibia Saint Lucia Venezuela
Brazil Grenada Kenya Nicaragua Singapore Zambia
Chile Guatemala Kosovo Palestinian Territories South Korea Zimbabwe
eVisa/ visa on arrival

Armenia Ghana Nepal Togo
Azerbaijan Guinea-Bissau Oman Turkey
Bolivia Iran Palau Tuvalu
Cambodia Jordan Rwanda Uganda
Cape Verde Kyrgyzstan Samoa
Comoros Laos Senegal
Cuba Madagascar Seychelles
Djibouti Maldives Somalia
Ethiopia Marshall Islands Tajikistan
Gabon Myanmar (Burma) Timor-Leste

Major visa changes on the way for South Africa: expert

The unexpected release of new Home Affairs immigration regulations on Thursday (29 November) has come as a surprise to many, says immigration expert, Stefanie de Saude Darbandi of De Saude Attorneys.
De Saude Darbandi said that the new draft should be seen as good news as it relaxes the visa regulations around travelling with children – however, she noted that some other big changes may be on the way.
Previously, tourists travelling into the country with foreign minors were required to produce an unabridged birth certificate before being allowed access into South Africa.
This birth certificate requirement has been a major point of controversy, with a 2016 report released by the DA finding that the rule cost the country as much as R7.5 billion due to lost business from blocked tourists.
“While the minister (of Home Affairs) undertook to issue this advisory by October, it is commendable that this amendment appears to have been passed ahead of the summer holiday season,” said de Saude Darbandi.
“However, stakeholders are still waiting with baited breath for the other significant changes the minister spoke of in September, and we are curious as to why these haven’t been implemented yet – particularly in light of the fact that we are approaching the biggest and busiest holiday season.”
Incoming changes
Among other changes, de Saude Darbandi said that South Africa was negotiating visa waiver agreements for ordinary passport holders with a number of countries, as well as simplifying visa requirements for countries such as China and India.
These countries include:
• Algeria;
• Egypt;
• Morocco;
• Sao Tome & Principe;
• Tunisia;
• Saharawi-Arab Democratic Republic;
• Ghana;
• Saudi Arabia;
• United Arab Emirates;
• Qatar;
• State of Palestine;
• Iran;
• Lebanon;
• Bahrain;
• Oman;
• Kuwait;
• Belarus;
• Georgia;
• Cuba.
De Saude Darbandi said that major new immigration regulations are also around the corner.
“A new draft Immigration Act is expected to be available for comment in March 2019, and a new critical skills list is intended to be implemented in April 2019,” she said.
“With major changes possible in the new legislation, the time spent drafting the latest minor amendments could have been better spent finalising visa/permit applications which are long outstanding, so that the affected applicants could finally go home and visit their families,” she said.
New Immigration Act
De Saude Darbandi has previously raised concerns about this new Immigration Act, with the new critical skills list significantly shorter than previous lists – omitting numerous key skills.
Among others, the designation ‘corporate general manager’ appears to have been dropped from the list, and no provision is made for equivalent skills, she said.
“This implies that high-level CEOs, business managers and consultants will no longer be able to apply for scarce skills visas, which raises questions about whether foreign business investors and multinationals will be able to support their local investments with the right level of staff.
“The draft list now allows for foreign language skills only if they are to be used in call centres. This excludes the high-level foreign language skills needed by organisations engaged in pan-African and international trade, consulting and support.
“For enterprises desperately short of next-generation technology skills to drive innovation, it should come as some concern to find that Artificial Intelligence and machine learning experts, IoT and data science skills are not included on the new critical skills list.”
Permanent residency
Also of concern in the new regulations are changes which could mean that many long-term foreign residents are no longer eligible to remain in South Africa.
“The white paper proposes that the granting of citizenship to foreigners be considered as exceptional and require an executive decision of the minister, and calls for a points-based system for permanent residence and citizenship,” she said.
It will also effectively scrap the current system of being able to apply for naturalisation after spending a number of years in the country – replacing it with a long-term residence visa, which should be renewed at intervals.
She noted that the white paper is vague about who will qualify for permanent residence and citizenship, and that if economic contribution is used as a metric, it could leave children, pensioners and working-class citizens out in the cold.
“The white paper does not appear to recognise how much of a deterrent it is to skilled foreigners to know that, no matter how long they have lived in South Africa, and no matter how much they have contributed, they cannot become permanent residents or citizens,” she said.

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