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Government issues a revised list of high risk countries

The Government has revised the list of high risk countries based on a risk categorization model.
We continue to be reminded that the Covid-19 pandemic is still with us and we need to continue to take precautions. In its last meeting, the Cabinet instructed the Ministers of Health, Home Affairs and Tourism to lead a process to review the list. The review of the list of high risk countries was done in such a way that it strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods.
Nothing has changed as far as all travellers from the continent of Africa are concerned. They are still welcome to visit the country subject to Covid-19 protocols.
People from high risk countries who may visit SA fall in the following categories: business travellers, holders of critical skills visas, investors and people on international mission in sports, arts, culture and science.
In addition, we recognise that there are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries that have been accustomed to long periods of visitation to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Most of them own properties in the country. We appreciate the significant economic contribution that they make through their activities in the country. To this end, we will also allow visitors, in whichever category, who are coming to stay for a three months period or more subject to Covid-19 protocols.
People who need to apply must direct email requests to: Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za, supported by –
a. a copy of passport and/or temporary residence visa;
b. proof of business activities to be undertaken in the Republic;
c. proof of travel itinerary; and
d. proof of address or accommodation in the Republic.
In the first two weeks that the Covid19BusinessTravel@dha.gov.za email address had been in operation, 4 701 applications were received, mostly from investors in agriculture, manufacturing, mining and tourism. Of these applications, 3113 have been approved.
These numbers show that on average, 335 investors a day applied to visit the Republic, sending a strong message that South Africa remains an attractive investment destination.
In response to these numbers, the Department of Home Affairs has increased the capacity of people managing the email account to ensure speedier responses and we will try our best to ensure that responses are communicated within 24 hours.
The latest list of high risk countries is:
Argentina Germany Peru
Bangladesh India Philippines
Belgium Indonesia Russia
Brazil Iran Spain
Canada Iraq United Kingdom
Chile Italy USA
Colombia Mexico
France Netherlands

Media Enquiries:
Siya Qoza, ‪082 898 1657 (spokesperson for the Minister of Home Affairs)
David Hlabane, ‪071 342 4284 (media manager for the Department of Home Affairs)
Public Enquiries: 0800 60 11 90

www.samigration.com

Costly protection: Corruption in South Africa’s asylum-seeking system

Asylum seekers queue outside the Customs House building in Cape Town. As of May 2020, it was estimated that there were 188,296 active asylum files and 80,752 recognised refugees in South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images / Nardus Engelbrecht)
A new report says that Home Affairs’ massive backlog in processing asylum seekers has created fertile ground for corruption.
On Thursday 17 September, Lawyers for Human Rights, the Scalabrini Centre and Corruption Watch launched a report titled “Costly protection: corruption in South Africa’s asylum system”. They also hosted a discussion moderated by Sharon Ekambaram from Lawyers for Human Rights, with Karim Singh from Corruption Watch, Charne Tracey from Lawyers for Human Rights and Sally Gander from the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town.
The report shows how corruption is endemic in the South African Home Affairs system, as well as the various players that perpetuate it, such as the police, and metro and Home Affairs officials.
Singh said it was important for corruption to be understood against the backdrop of the rule of law and what it meant in a constitutional democracy. He said that the issue was about systemic governance weaknesses when it came to asylum seekers and that there was a need to intensify advocacy and law reform. Singh suggested that Home Affairs needed to strengthen its internal integrity systems. “We sit with a deep accountability deficit,” said Singh.
According to the report, “Corruption has historically posed a substantial challenge to the implementation of the Refugees Act – and thus to the wellbeing of refugees and asylum seekers themselves. The systemic failures in implementation of the Refugees Act and limited capacity within the DHA [Department of Home Affairs], have therefore rendered the system vulnerable to abuse – by both desperate asylum seekers as well as by officials seeking to take advantage of this vulnerability. As a result, many people seeking asylum cannot secure proper documentation, resulting in their displacement and increased vulnerability to exploitation.”
The report said that as of May 2020 it was estimated that there were 188,296 active asylum files and 80,752 recognised refugees in South Africa. It went on to say, however, that because of barriers in the system and Refugee Reception Offices (RROs) being closed as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, there were likely to be more refugees and asylum seekers in the country. The main focus of the survey was the interaction of respondents with the South African Police Service (SAPS), their experience at RROs and their general South African experience over the past five years.
The report’s research was conducted through surveys of 263 people aged 15-60, the majority being 26 to 30 years old, with males representing 63% of the group. The surveys were conducted in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Musina, and the respondents were predominantly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia. When crossing the borders (which is where the asylum-seeking journey begins), 10% of respondents reported being asked for bribes by border officials to gain entry into South Africa. The amounts ranged from R700 to R2,500.
The report explains that immigration officials are required to give refugees crossing into SA a five-day asylum transit permit to grant them time to get to an RRO and apply for asylum. Those who enter the country unofficially are under law protected from arrest if they declare they are seeking asylum and are supposed to go to an RRO immediately. However, 11% of respondents said they had been arrested by the SAPS for not having correct documentation before they were able to get to an RRO, despite being protected by the Refugees Act.
Respondents also reported that there were impediments to getting into RROs, such as security guards not letting them in without a bribe, very long queues and interpreters soliciting bribes. Once respondents made it into the RROs, Home Affairs officials accounted for 62% of the bribery soliciting.
The fact that asylum seekers have to return to RROs every three months to renew their documents made them vulnerable to police harassment when they were found with expired documentation. Thirty-five percent of respondents had to make multiple attempts to enter the reception offices – one respondent reported trying for three years. Respondents were required to pay fines for lost or expired documents or face arrest.
According to the 2019 Auditor-General’s report, “the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs experienced backlogs of 40,326 (compared with 475 during the 2007 audit) and the Refugee Appeals Board 147,794 (compared with 893 during the 2007 audit) cases, respectively. With their current capacity, the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs would take just over one year and the Refugee Appeals Board 68 years to clear the backlog without taking new cases.”
During the discussion, Gander said that the report could be used as a tool to assist with the effective implementation of the Refugees Act, which would help Home Affairs discharge its asylum-seeker duties effectively.
Gander mentioned that although the number of applications seemed to have dropped since 2014, this was not because people were no longer seeking asylum, it was because they were frustrated by the barriers in the Home Affairs system. She said that there needs to be amnesty for people who have been trying and failing to get documentation for five years through no fault of their own.
The report said that Home Affairs’ massive backlog created fertile ground for corruption. Its key recommendations were for:
• The reopening of RROs;
• For RROs to be fully capacitated;
• Proper staff training in refugee law and international refugee law; and
• Sensitivity training and adoption of policy measures such as better accessibility to RROs that will bolster SA’s refugee system.
The report also recommended the establishment of a safe and easy way for people to be able to report corrupt officials and the creation of an independent body to deal with this corruption.
Closing the discussion, Ekambaram said that acts of xenophobia cannot be separated from the failed asylum system and that the call for strengthening institutions of democracy was not only for refugees and migrants, but that it is also about South Africans
www.samigration .com

SA’s red list just went from 60 to 22 countries – but US and UK tourists are still banned

The list of countries South Africa considers at high risk for the coronavirus – and from which tourists are banned – dropped from 60 to 22 on Monday.
• The new red list still includes India, the UK, and the USA.
• Germany and Canada are among the seven countries newly listed.
• Visitors from the remaining high-risk countries will now be welcome as long as they stay for three months or more, the department of home affairs says.
South Africa’s red list, of countries from which tourists are not welcome, now stands at 22, down from an initial 60.
But still on the list are several countries that represent important markets for South Africa’s tourist offerings.
Countries on the African continent are automatically excluded from the list, and it does not apply to business travellers, or others who are not travelling for leisure, including diplomats and sportspeople.
It will now also no longer apply to longer-term visitors, the department of home affairs (DHA) said in a statement.
The government recognises “that there are a number of regular visitors from mainly European countries that have been accustomed to long periods of visitation to our country during our summer season when it is winter in the Northern Hemisphere,” said the DHA.
“Most of them own properties in the country. We appreciate the significant economic contribution that they make through their activities in the country. To this end, we will also allow visitors, in whichever category, who are coming to stay for a three months period or more subject to Covid-19 protocols.”
The government has not disclosed exactly how it came up with the initial list, or how it determined the new list.
“The review of the list of high risk countries was done in such a way that it strikes a balance between saving lives and protecting livelihoods,” the DHA said. The
Here is the full list of high-risk countries, from which tourists may not visit South Africa, as of 19 October:
• Argentina
• Bangladesh
• Belgium
• Brazil
• Canada
• Chile
• Colombia
• France
• Germany
• India
• Indonesia
• Iran
• Iraq
• Italy
• Mexico
• The Netherlands
• Peru
• The Philippines
• Russia
• Spain
• The United Kingdom
• The United States of America
Border officials are instructed to turn away tourists from those countries should they reach South Africa.
Seven of those countries did not appear on the initial red list, which means their tourists are effectively newly banned.
The countries from which tourists were previously welcome, but no more, are:
• Bangladesh
• Canada
• Germany
• Indonesia
• Italy
• The Philippines
• Spain
www.samigration.com

Overstay / Declared Undesirable / VLIST Ban Issued for 5 Years . There is hope !!

Overstaying one’s visa is a common occurrence among people who applied to extend their visa in South Africa and said visa not issued in time for travel. In recent months overstaying one visa has moved from being a minor inconvenience to a possible criminal offence with potentially serious ramifications. The changes brought about by the new immigration laws have made overstaying ones visa a very serious affair which needs a careful and smart approach to remedy. Let us now explore the effect of overstaying ones visa and what steps to take to correct this now serious matter. Effect of an overstay An individual who remains the republic after his or her visa has expired is in violations of the Act. The immigration Act describe such individual as illegal Foreigners.
We have a solution
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REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Major News and hope : We are one of the few organisations getting Emptions & waivers approved !!!!
Apply Now for Temporary and Permanent Residence
The Constitutional Court in November last year handed down a judgement in the Ahmed matter as well as a Court Order opening the door for Asylum Seekers and Refugees to apply to change their status to that of a mainstream Visa under The Immigration Act.
The Department has issued a Directive empowering the VFS offices (representing Home Affairs ) elsewhere to take in any application for a change of status and any waiver that may be required from an Asylum Seeker Temporary Visa or Formal Recognition Permit.
Further, it is important to note that not just any holder of an Asylum Seeker Temporary Visa or Formal Recognition of Refugee Status can apply for either a Temporary or Permanent Residence. They would first
have to qualify in the applicable category of a mainstream visa under the Immigration Act,
Under the new rules they don’t have to cancel their asylum or refugee status and can change to any visa class if they qualify from within
South Africa
Contact us :
please email us to info@samigration.com whatsapp us on: +27 82 373 8415, where are you now? check our website :
www.samigration.com

Dlamini-Zuma extends South Africa’s national state of disaster

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has extended the national state of disaster by another month.
Government declared a national state of disaster under Section 27(1) and Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act on 15 March 2020 – in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
While the state of disaster was originally set to lapse on 15 June, the act provides that it can be extended by the Cogta minister by notice in the gazette for one month at a time before it lapses.
In a directive published on Wednesday (14 October), Dlamini-Zuma said that the extension takes into account the need to continue augmenting the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by organs of state to address the impact of the Covid-19 disaster.
The state of disaster is now set to lapse on 15 November.
Push-back
The extended national state of disaster has faced increased scrutiny from business groups and political parties who want the prolonged coronavirus lockdown to end.
Earlier this week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said that the state of disaster undermines democracy, oversight, and policy certainty, and entrenches what it called “bad science”, promoting a climate of fear in the country.
“Extending (the state of disaster) will be no more than a continuation of the government’s attempt to use bad science to promote a climate of fear that gives false legitimacy to the ANC’s growing authoritarianism,” it said.
The party said that under South Africa’s level 1 lockdown rules, harm and damage is still being done to certain sectors of the economy – particularly tourism and the alcohol industry. Lockdown also continues to interrupt education, with no benefits to society, it said.
Shifting power
The state of disaster is what gives power and effect to all current lockdown regulations, which are all being directed under the Disaster Management Act. By terminating the state of disaster, all current regulations – such as curfew and restrictions on gatherings and movement – would also be ended.
However, a late-night submission by the Department of Health on Tuesday (13 October) has made a move to shift some of these powers over to the Health Act, giving the minister similar capacity to implement these restrictions.
These amendments to the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions would allow health minister Zweli Mkhize to impose “necessary restrictions, relating to such notifiable medical condition” by the mere publication of a Government Gazette.
Restrictions may include:
• Complete or partial closing of any public place including a place used for public receptions, tourist activities or events or public recreation, amusement or entertainment activities or events;
• Prohibition of movements between districts and provinces of people;
• Prohibitions of the use of ports of entry;
• Imposing curfews for people to remain indoors; and
• Closing of educational institutions.
The DA said that an argument can be made that regulations need to be improved in this area, going the route of handing power over to cabinet with little to no oversight, and giving them freedom to infringe rights on any arbitrary whim they have, is not the way to go.
“During the past seven months we have seen the South African government tighten its grip on citizens more with some irrational and unnecessary limitations of their rights. This was done arbitrarily through a Covid Command Council that was accountable to no one else besides the executive.
“We have seen Parliament sidelined and relegated to a mere spectator all while massive decisions pertaining to the rights of citizens were taken. This was done in aid of our fight against Covid-19 – a legitimate global health disaster,” it said.
“We cannot allow this state of affairs to be normalized as though we do not live in a Constitutional democracy.
www.samigration.com

What is the true cost of living in Africa?

One would think that living in Africa as an expat would be cheaper than living in Europe or America. Not necessarily so.
Intuitively, one would think that living in Africa as an expat would be cheaper than living in Europe or America. Not necessarily so! Calculation of expat pay has many nuances and considerations, part of which is the cost of living differences, as well as the hardship relativities between countries.
Much of Africa has relatively low prices for local goods and services. Just go to the markets in the cities and towns. Local traders offer great bargains, especially for locally grown and produced items. The majority of people live in modest homes, that are relatively cheap in the global housing market. Schools and healthcare is mostly government provided. The cost of living, for local people in Africa, is relatively cheap.
Africa also has some of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. Infrastructure tends to be sparse and poorly maintained. Western luxury goods and services are mostly imported, and only the elite can afford to buy them. For most local people in Africa, the cost of living tends to be relatively low.
Expatriates (expat) are people who voluntarily live outside their own country to take up a job opportunity that requires skills and experience that cannot be resourced locally. They therefore tend to be highly skilled and experienced professionals who are often highly paid in their home country. An expatriate is different to an immigrant in that they intend returning to their home country when the assignment has been completed and do not therefore consider themselves to be local in their host country.
To persuade an expat to take up an international assignment in a country that may be regarded as less attractive than their home country, they need to be offered a better or at the very least a similar, quality of lifestyle, safety and security. This applies to the house they live in, the car they drive, the shops they frequent, the restaurants they dine at and the schools that their children attend. In Africa expatriates pay a premium for “international” brands ideally from their home country, and they tend to make use of premium service providers such as up-market medical practices, international schools, and most prefer to live in exclusive, secure accommodation in order to maintain the quality of life to which they are accustomed back home.
Many of the goods and services required by expatriates must be imported as they are not available locally. The cost of importing and transporting the international standard of goods that expatriates expect to purchase in the cities in this region makes it extremely expensive to maintain the lifestyle that they are used to. For most expatriates in Africa, the cost of living tends to be relatively high.
The cost of living in Africa is both low for local people and high for expatriates. It depends what is measured – local goods and services or imported goods and services – this determines the Cost of Living Index (COLI).
A cost of living comparison involves using a Cost of Living Index (COLI) as a numerical way of comparing the cost of living at an identified standard of living, either over time, or by comparing the cost of living in different geographical locations. When comparing the cost of living between different locations the difference in the cost of living is expressed as an index by dividing the cost of living in Location A by the cost of living in Location B.
The cost of living index indicates the difference in the cost of living between the two locations. In the below graphic, the COLI for the most expensive cities in Africa is the result of dividing each location’s cost of living by the cost of living in New York NY (USA) using 13 basket groups. New York therefore has a COLI of 100 for global comparison purposes.

The graphic illustrates that all African cities’ locals have a lower cost of living than New York locals but that expats in African cities would probably have a higher cost of living as they would import the goods and services they are accustomed to from a first world country. This is why expatriate pay is such a complex subject. Add to that the consideration of hardship differentials and the uniqueness of every home and host location – certainly not a simple calculation if you are trying to retain these expatriate skills.
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