Browsing "Permanent Residence"

Why do South African students fare worse at maths than their counterparts in other countries?

South African students are bad at maths compared to other countries. This is clear from results of South African learners in the International Mathematics and Science Study. The results show that South Africa’s performance is far from competitive in relation to other countries.
To try and understand the reasons for this poor performance, I did a qualitative case study focusing on a year-long post graduate course taken by aspiring teachers. I focused particularly on a Post Graduate Certificate in Education with a maths focus offered by one of the country’s university of technologies.
I looked at three key themes – the curriculum and its delivery, partnerships during delivery and policy influencing delivery. My research findings show that the success of the Post Graduate Certificate in Education in preparing maths teachers is not without concern and its delivery, in the case study context, needs rethinking.
My findings underscore earlier research that has suggested that a shortage of competent and confident qualified mathematics teachers is a key contributing factor to the low maths performance of South African school children.
The one-year Post Graduate Certificate in Education offered at South African universities is a key qualification for aspiring teachers. This is taken after completing a diploma or degree in other fields such as engineering, business and hospitality. It offers an opportunity to university graduates to become a professionally qualified teacher in one-year instead of pursuing a career in industry.
My research highlights the constraints identified by students and lecturers of the post graduate certificate programme, in particular as it relates to the teaching of maths.
The first constraint I identified involved inadequate support structures as well as information, communication and technology infrastructure to meaningfully support the ever-increasing numbers of students taking up the course. The numbers have grown exponentially – from 10 in 1994 to 100 in 2014 and then 207 in 2015. In short, the university has been expected to do more with less.
The second constraint I identified was a potential over reliance on using Bachelors in Education content designed to be delivered over four years. This was evident from the statements from lecturers clarifying how they identify and select content to present during lectures.
This is a constraint as the four year Bachelors in Education content is not always suitable for the Post Graduate Certificate in Education context. This indicates a need to develop context specific content to make the best of the one-year post graduate certificate.
The third constraint was a limited partnership to develop professional learning communities. These should ideally involve lecturers and students, university representatives evaluating students during compulsory classroom teaching periods and the teachers in schools hosting students.
The main reason for this constraint appeared to be that most lecturers were part-time as the course was offered in the afternoon or evening. This meant that lecturers and students had limited time to engage. This affected the outcomes and the quality of the course.
Another outcome from the lack of engagement between the part-time lecturers was that lecturers duplicated content offered in other programme modules. Students and graduates noted this as one of their main concerns. Unnecessary duplication is a major problem because the post graduate certificate programme has a limited time-frame of just one year.
The fourth and final constraint was a lack of oversight over university policy stipulations linked to the delivery and assessment of the post graduate qualification.
For example, university policy stipulates that an assessment plan, programme and calendar must be provided to students. Such a document wasn’t provided to students as noted during interviews. Policy also stipulates that students must re-do practical teaching if they miss more than five days during the study period. One student noted that he was absent for a whole week during this period and no one noticed. He was awarded a pass for practical teaching.
My research found that lecturers didn’t follow all the university’s policies. This suggested that they weren’t being monitored by the relevant authorities. This lack of oversight by the university is clearly a major problem.
Next steps
I conclude from my findings that, to become confident and competent maths teachers, graduates who have passed the Post Graduate Certificate in Education need further development and support. If this isn’t provided, South Africa is unlikely to see an improvement in the performance of its school children.

Motsoaledi’s statements on Atul Gupta’s SA passport request are ‘legally flawed’, says lawyer

Atul Gupta is seeking to have his South African passport issued.

The Department of Home Affairs is opposing the application

Gupta’s legal team has filed a court application, seeking an order ompelling the director-general and home affairs minister to furnish his record of decision for refusing the passport.

The lawyer representing one of the Gupta brothers has filed a fresh application, seeking an order compelling the Department of Home Affairs to file a record and reasons for its decision on its refusal to issue his client with a passport. The papers were filed in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria last week.

The respondents in the matter are the director-general of home affairs and Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Atul Gupta, who fled South Africa for Dubai amid corruption allegations,
approached the court in January in a bid to have his South African passport issued.

In his application, he argued that the home affairs director-general’s failure to grant his passport application was unlawful and reviewable. The department is opposing the application.

Speaking to News24 on Tuesday, Gupta’s attorney Rudi Krause said, despite Motsoaledi’s public statements that his client would not be issued with a passport, he had so far not provided the record of decision. He had also not filed an answering affidavit, Krause said.


“The minister boldly said he has taken a decision not to issue Mr Gupta with a new passport [and] now the fundamental problem is, it’s not the minister’s decision… it is the decision of the Director-General.

He said: So, if the minister has taken that decision, we want to see on what legal basis the minister claims to have made the decision which he is not entitled to make in law. “We have found his public statement to be legally flawed,” he added.

The main application was brought in terms of Rule 53 – which determines that an organ of state that takes an administrative decision must provide the court, upon application, with the record of decision, he said. “So, there must be an official record of the decision that the minister took,” he said.

Krause said: It is just reckless of a minister to behave in this fashion. “They [the respondents] have also served us with a Rule 47 notice requiring of Mr Gupta to put up security for costs which we’ve told them we are not going to do. “How can the government expect a citizen of this country who wants to exercise their constitutional right to put up security for costs? We’ve told them in writing, we are not going to put up security for costs. [They should ] bring an application so that we can argue this in court; they have not brought that application either.” In his affidavit filed in court, on behalf of his client, Krause said: “At the time of deposing to this affidavit, the respondents have still
not filed the record of decision with the registrar. Instead the second respondent (Minister Motsoaledi) is quoted in the media as saying that he has garnered a top legal team and that he will resist any effort by the applicant to be issued with a South African passport.

“Despite the approach that the second respondent [minister] has taken publicly, the respondents remain in default of filing a record of decision and simply complying with the rules of the court as all parties are obliged to do.”


Krause said the DG and the minister were not only in default of compliance with the notice of motion and the rules of court, but also in contempt of court “by virtue of their flagrant disregard for the Rules of this Court”.

Asked for comment on the matter, spokesperson for the Home Affairs minister, Siya Qoza said: “The Department is defending the matter and is giving this application the requisite attention.”
The controversial Gupta family left South Africa for Dubai under increasing pressure due to allegations that they influenced former president Jacob Zuma’s Cabinet appointments.

South Africa has been engaging with the United Arab Emirates for some family members and their associates’ extradition. But according to Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, the UAE was not
cooperating, News24 reported. Meanwhile, in his application filed in January, Gupta said:
My circumstances and business activities in South Africa are well known, and it would not be inappropriate to describe myself as having a public profile. I have been the subject of speculation and reporting by the media, much of which is inaccurate. The simple factual position is that I have not been charged with any criminal offence under South African or any other law, and there had been no credible suggestion that any such charges are to be proffered against me.

SARS busts diplomats for allegedly selling illicit alcohol, cheating taxman out of R100m per month

Foreign diplomats are allegedly selling illicit liquor, cheating SARS of taxes totalling more than R100 million every month.
Investigations by tax authorities have singled out diplomats from Ghana, Rwanda, Guinea, Burundi and Lesotho for being involved in tax crimes involving the sale of duty free liquor.
SARS and **Department of International Relations and Cooperation are working on the introduction of liquor and cigarette quotas to stem the abuse of duty free shopping by diplomats.
The SA Revenue Service (SARS) has uncovered a tax-dodging racket in which foreign diplomats buy large volumes of alcohol at duty free retailers and sell it locally, cheating the tax collector of an estimated R100 million in taxes every month.
News24 can reveal two investigations by SARS, one in 2019 and the otherlast year, singled out diplomats from Rwanda, Lesotho, Ghana, Guinea,Malawi and Burundi for being involved in the scam.
At least three senior officials from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told News24 last year SARS agents caught a German diplomat, inside a duty free retailer, using his credentials to buy alcohol for three friends.
The sources said the diplomats bought the alcohol from Flemingo, Assortim, Ambassador and Nu Africa, all duty free retailers based around Hatfield, Brooklyn and Arcadia in Pretoria.South Africans are not allowed to buy from local duty free retailers.Value-added tax (VAT) and other duties are not levied on goods sold at duty free retailers on the understanding that such goods are being sold to travellers who are taking them out of the country.
The department’s regulations permit diplomats to buy goods from duty free retailers. But the condition is that the goods can only be consumed or used inside the diplomats’ embassies. Tax laws also forbid thereselling of duty free goods in local markets.
SARS and department did not respond to detailed questions, but in a joint statement to News24, they said they were “extremely concerned”.In the statement, department spokesman Clayson Monyela said: “The South African Revenue Service and the Department of International Relations and Co-operation are extremely concerned about the purchase of duty free products such as alcohol and cigarettes, which are then distributed locally.”
How did diplomats cheat SARS .
Monyela confirmed the 2019 investigation. “In light of the above, and in an effort to establish the facts, SARS obtained information from licenced duty free shops regarding the sales values, product quantities and the details of the foreign diplomat to whom such goods have been sold.
“The stores were requested to supply a complete list of all transactions from 1 March 2019 to 30 August 2019. The list had to include the type of sale, embassy involved, diplomat involved and method of payment.”Over six months, the stores had sales to the amount of R423 million.
The 2 200 diplomats spend on average R70.5 million per month at these stores.He said:
The most commonly purchased commodities are rum, whiskey, brandy, liqueurs, cigarettes and cigars. The duty free shops were established with the sole function to service the diplomatic community.In an effort to stem the abuse of diplomatic privileges, SARS and the department have developed new sets of regulations which will introduce quotas and limits to the amount of alcohol and cigarettes which diplomats will be allowed to buy at duty free retailers per month.
“The new regulations will kick in sometime towards the middle of the year. The abuse of the rebates extended to foreign diplomats when purchasing duty free products shows the lack of respect for SouthAfrican laws, diplomatic protocols, immunities and privileges extended to them by Pretoria. They are aware that what they are doing is illegal,” a senior department official said.
A second official said SARS’ investigations showed a number of diplomats were spending up to R5 million per month on duty free liquor, bought to be resold locally.”There are two cases in which two diplomats spent more than R10 million on duty free liquor, each. The executive said at least two diplomats had admitted to buying duty free alcohol with the intention to resell it to local liquor traders.
“It is not even the entire diplomatic community that was investigated, it is just a few diplomats. This means that the problem out there could be far worse than we think.” The diplomats, he added, bought from the four duty free retailers and then on-sold the alcohol to local liquor traders. “It all amounts to excise and VAT fraud. How it works is that, for example, a bottle of KWV, which costs about R155 at the local retailer, would cost about R70 at a duty free retailer. “The diplomats buy at this price and are able to add a mark-up of R20.The local liquor trader buys from the diplomat for R90 and he can still add a R30 mark-up and sell to the public for R120. “He still outcompetes the legitimate retailer, but in all these, SARS is robbed because the goods are not taxed. It is a lucrative business and they become millionaires overnight.”
The third official said while Flemingo, Nu Africa, Ambassador and Assortim did not do anything illegal in that nothing in the regulations stopped them from selling the large volumes they were allegedly selling to diplomats, they had moral questions to answer to. “There is criminality from the diplomats. What they are doing amounts to tax fraud and they are cheating SARS of at least R100 million every month. And this has been going on since 2014. Pretoria should consider charging them or expelling them.” As for the retailers, he added SARS should investigate if they were not accessories to tax crimes.
“Yes, an argument could be made that they didn’t break any laws, but they must have known that the volumes being purchased by diplomats were definitely not for personal consumption inside embassies.”
A former SARS investigator said the investigation into the selling of alcohol bought at duty free retailers to local markets had started around 2014.
The investigation, together with 86 others, stalled and crashed at the height of the SARS Rogue Unit saga which saw more than 200 experienced officials leave SARS. “These were big investigations looking into illicit tobacco, duty free alcohol, drugs and the importation of and exportation of illicit goods.”
*The responses*
The embassies of Ghana, Burundi, Guinea, Rwanda and Malawi did not respond to questions. A spokesman of the German Embassy said authorities were not aware of any complaint laid by the department about the conduct of any of the country’s diplomats. The Kingdom of Lesotho’s High Commissioner in Pretoria, Bereng Sekhonyana, said he viewed the allegations “in a very dim light” and was concerned by their gravity. “Should any of our diplomats be implicated in the alleged scam, the sternest of measures will be taken against this gross abuse of privilege. “Access to duty free liquor and other merchandise at duty free shops is a privilege diplomats enjoy at the pleasure of our host country, the Republic of South Africa. It is not an opportunity for unethical and corrupt self-enrichment by officials who have been honoured to serve in their country’s diplomatic service abroad.” In 2019, Sekhonyana said, his office had received a complaint from the department about an employee working at the Kingdom of Lesotho’s Consulate General in Johannesburg. “She had been detained at the Sunnyside police station and a case was opened against her for unlawful dealing with liquor in a public place; bribery of a police official and possession of suspected stolen property. “The alcohol [quantity unspecified] had been seized by the Sunnyside SAPS as exhibit as well as an amount of R3 500 she had allegedly paid as ‘bribery’. The police did not follow up on the case,” he said.
Nu Africa did not respond to a detailed list of questions. “Nu Africa denies that it has acted in an unlawful fashion, as alleged,” the company said through its lawyer, Marius van Staden.
Rudy Swanepoel, the store manager at Ambassador, said he had been made aware by both SARS and the police about an investigation into the sale of duty free liquor by diplomats. “Ambassador Duty Free has been made aware by both SARS and by the SAPS that they are investigating the selling of duty free liquor by diplomats, but Ambassador Duty Free has not yet been interviewed by SAPS in this regard.” SARS, he added, had conducted a number of audits at the company’s premises and found it to be in the clear.”SARS has instituted several audits into the compliance by Ambassador Duty Free with its tax and customs and excise obligations, and in each case has been found to be in compliance with its obligations and has been given a clean audit. “Ambassador Duty Free has not been fined by SARS or any other authority relating to its sale of duty free alcohol, nor has any of its stocks been seized by SARS during the course of any investigation.” The claim that diplomats have been buying alcohol of more than R1 million in any given month was speculation, Swanepoel said, adding the retailer denied it was complicit in tax-dodging crimes.
Assortim’s Karen Bezuidenhout said: “Please note that Assortim Duty Free operates its diplomatic duty free shop within the legal landscape applicable to such shops. Assortim Duty Free is not under police investigation and SARS monitors the diplomatic duty free shops.” The retailer was operating within the limits of the law, including the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Constitution of South Africa, she added.

533 million Facebook users’ phone numbers and personal data have been leaked online

The personal data of over 500 million Facebook users has been posted online in a low-level hacking forum.
• The data includes phone numbers, full names, location, email address, and biographical information.
• Security researchers warn that the data could be used by hackers to impersonate people and commit fraud.
A user in a low level hacking forum has published the phone numbers and personal data of hundreds of millions of Facebook users for free online.
The exposed data includes personal information of over 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries, including over 32 million records on users in the US, 11 million on users in the UK, and 6 million on users in India. It includes their phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios, and – in some cases – email addresses.
Though South Africa is not directly listed as an affected country, millions of SA accounts appear to be affected under the designation “Africa”.
Insider reviewed a sample of the leaked data and verified several records by matching known Facebook users’ phone numbers with the IDs listed in the data set. We also verified records by testing email addresses from the data set in Facebook’s password reset feature, which can be used to partially reveal a user’s phone number.
The leaked data could provide valuable information to cybercriminals who use people’s personal information to impersonate them or scam them into handing over login credentials, according to Alon Gal, CTO of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, who first discovered the leaked data on Saturday. “A database of that size containing the private information such as phone numbers of a lot of Facebook’s users would certainly lead to bad actors taking advantage of the data to perform social engineering attacks [or] hacking attempts,” Gal told Insider.
Facebook did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment.
Gal first discovered the leaked data in January when a user in the same hacking forum advertised an automated bot that could provide phone numbers for hundreds of millions of Facebook users in exchange for a price. Motherboard reported on that bot’s existence at the time and verified that the data was legitimate.
Now, the entire dataset has been posted on the hacking forum for free, making it widely available to anyone with rudimentary data skills.
It’s not the first time that a huge number of Facebook users’ phone numbers have been found exposed online. A vulnerability that was uncovered in 2019 allowed millions of people’s phone numbers to be scraped from Facebook’s servers in violation of its terms of service. Facebook said that vulnerability was patched in August 2019.
Facebook previously vowed to crack down on mass data-scraping after Cambridge Analytica scraped the data of 80 million users in violation of Facebook’s terms of service to target voters with political ads in the 2016 election.
Gal said that, from a security standpoint, there’s not much Facebook can do to help users affected by the breach since their data is already out in the open – but he added that Facebook could notify users so they could remain vigilant for possible phishing schemes or fraud using their personal data.
“Individuals signing up to a reputable company like Facebook are trusting them with their data and Facebook [is] supposed to treat the data with utmost respect,” Gal said. “Users having their personal information leaked is a huge breach of trust and should be handled accordingly.”

Here are the 10 critical skills needed in South Africa right now

A critical skills survey conducted by Xpatweb highlights the most in-demand ‘scarce’ skills in the country, which has led to businesses seeking talent recruitment from abroad.
The survey was conducted across a wide range of multi-national and corporate firms to assess the level of difficulty organisations face when sourcing scarce skilled individuals and the role of foreign nationals in addressing these shortages.
The number of respondents has grown exponentially in recent years, with a 30% increase in responses from 178 in 2019, to 220 in 2020/21.
Xpatweb managing director Marisa Jacobs highlighted the results of the latest Xpatweb Critical Skills Survey 2020/21.
“The survey has revealed that 77% of organisations have stated that they are still struggling to recruit and obtain critical skills in South Africa for their local and cross-border operations.
“76% of participants further confirmed that an international search will assist the organisation in meeting its business objectives,” Jacobs said.
According to the latest survey, the top 10 skills businesses are struggling to recruit include:
• Engineers (18%);
• ICT (13%);
• Foreign language speakers (10%);
• Media and Marketing Specialists (9%);
• Artisans (8%);
• C-Suite Executives (7%);
• Senior Financial Executives (6%);
• Health Professions
• Related Clinical Sciences (5%);
• Science Professionals (4%)
• Accounting (1%).
Over the past five years, the skills shortage has persisted with eight categories of skills dominating the top of the list of professionals that businesses find difficult to recruit.
“This has led to many organisations seeking suitably qualified and experienced candidates beyond South Africa’s borders to fill these posts,” Jacobs said.
ICT professionals and engineers in highest demand
The number of businesses indicating that engineers are difficult to recruit rose from 16% to 18% which could indicate that these skills are being lost to the brain drain as countries like Australia and the United Kingdom compete directly with South Africa for qualified and experienced professionals.
Business expansions into Africa for special projects locally in the oil and gas sectors also tend to attract these in-demand skills.
Mechanical engineers (26%) were most in-demand, followed by maintenance engineers (18%), chemical engineers (13%) and industrial engineers (14%).
The demand for ICT skills remains unprecedented and climbing, as 14% of businesses, compared to 15% of respondents in the 2019 survey now indicate that they struggle to source skilled professionals in this field to drive their operational demand to transition into the digital economy.
The most sought after professionals include IT application developers (11%), data analysts (10%), data scientists (9%), software developers (9%) and software engineers (8%).
“As big data, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet of things rapidly shape the way of doing business, which often marks the difference between firms that survive and thrive in the transition from the third industrial revolution into the 4IR and those that don’t compete effectively, sourcing these skills is a priority that cuts across all sectors,” Jacobs said.
Executives and foreign-language speakers
Senior financial and C-suite executives remain in demand with the number organisations reporting that it is a struggle to find suitable candidates to fill these key business leadership positions.
Most in demand professions were chief operating officer (24%), chief financial officer (24%), chief executive officer (19%) and chief technology officer (19%).
These skills are most sought after in sectors including business and finance; production and manufacturing; management; information communication; IT and technical services, mining and administrative services.
“Factors influencing the challenges that businesses face in recruiting the right person for these roles include the fact that in a global village, organisations are increasingly seeking professionals with international experience.
“Businesses are not only seeking essential tick box qualifications and experience required for a traditional executive position, but they want professionals who are equipped with niche business experience to lead their expansion and growth across international markets,” Jacobs said.
“Businesses are aware of market dynamics in their various global markets and need to be certain that candidates understand the nuances of their specific focus areas.”
This global expansion of businesses and especially growth in cross-border trade on the African continent has also led to rising demand for foreign language skilled professionals, including the hiring of interpreters.
Some 10% of organisations indicated that they struggle to find people with adequate foreign language skills, a marked increase from just 4% in the 2019 survey.
Foreign language speakers most in-demand included, French (29%), German (18%), Mandarin (14%); Italian (10%), Spanish (10%) and Dutch (4%).
Sectors that are finding a demand for these skills are largely information technology and communication; business and finance; hospitality and tourism and education and libraries.

Home Affairs, UN Refugee Agency project seeks to clear SA asylum seeker backlog

CAPE TOWN – Asylum applications could be streamlined with the launch of the Asylum Backlog Project.
It’s a joint endeavour by the Home Affairs Department and the UN Refugee Agency.
It aims to eliminate the backlog in South Africa’s asylum system by 2024.
Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that the Asylum Backlog Project would include hiring more staff to help deal with a backlog.
“We provided a sum of U$9.6 million for this project over a period of four years. They’ll also provide technical assistance in the form of training. The money will be used to employ 36 extra lawyers because at the moment there are only three.”
Motsoaledi said that when the Refugee Act came into effect in 1998, the country had 11,000 asylum applications and in 2006 it reached 53,000.
“In 2008, it increased fourfold – 207,000 people just arrived and said they’re looking for asylum. Now while the system was still shocked, the following year another 223,000 followed, which means there’s still 400,000 people within a period of two years. Since that time, the system has never recovered.”
He said that they’d still not been able to clear that backlog.
“The number of people now who must be cleared via this backlogs is 163,000 applications

Travel ban in place – Travel to Germany and visa applications under Covid-19 restrictions

In a move to prevent the introduction of SARS-CoV2-variants, the German Government on 30th January 2021 has imposed a general ban on travel and entry from countries with widespread occurrence of such virus variants (referred to as areas of variant of concern). These include South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho.
The ban has been extended until 14.04.2021 and may be further extended depending on the development of the pandemic.
Transport companies, e.g. air carriers and railway companies, may not transport any persons from these countries to Germany. Entry for such travellers into Germany is not allowed under Art. 14 (1) / Art. 6 (1) lit e of the Schengen Borders Code.
There are only a few, strictly defined exceptions to this travel ban:
• German citizens
• Members of the nuclear family of Germans who travel jointly with them. The nuclear family comprises spouses, legal partners, minor children and parents of minor children
• Citizens of the EU-countries and Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein or Iceland who have their permanent residence in Germany
• Third country nationals with permanent residence and lawful residence in Germany
• Transit passengers (in international transit only, not within the Schengen Area)
• Repatriating crews
• Health Workers
• Persons traveling on urgent humanitarian reasons
• Persons traveling in official mission for EURATOM, the International Atomic Energy Organization or the United Nations or UN-organizations.
Please find more details on the Website of the German Federal Foreign Office concerning the following topics:
Travel ban, general entry restrictions, test requirements, digital entry registration, quarantine regulations
Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the Corona-Virus situation in Germany can be found here.
Applications for long-term visa
If you are planning a long term stay in Germany (such as for work or family reunification) you can find more information here. Please note that although it is currently possible to submit a national visa application the visa itself will not be issued as long as the above mentioned travel ban is in place.
The following information only applies for the time after the travel and entry ban from areas with virus variants of concern will have been lifted:
Applications for Schengen visa – only in exceptional cases
Entry to Germany from South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho under certain conditions – after lifting of the entry ban – will be possible. Please find below the list of exceptions where travel is permitted and a Schengen visa application may be submitted.
If you already have a valid Schengen visa issued before 17.03.2020 you will only be permitted entry to Germany – after lifting of the entry ban – if one of the exceptions apply to you and the additional documentation (as mentioned below) are provided upon entry.
How to apply for a Schengen visa – additional documentation required
Should you be planning a trip under one of the exception categories, you may schedule an appointment with the external service provider TLS to submit your application.
Please make sure that, in addition to all the documents required for the basic purpose of the trip (e.g. business or visit), you also submit the documentation listed below in the respective category with your application.
You can find general information on Schengen-Visas here
Applications for which the required documentation is missing, including proof of the existence of an exceptional case, must unfortunately be rejected. Neither the visa fee nor the service providers’ fee will be refundable in these cases.
When travelling please make sure that the documentation is on hand at all times in case requested by the Federal Border Police upon entry.
Quarantine in Germany – still mandatory
When entering Germany you are subject to quarantine regulations. Check carefully whether the duration and circumstances of the quarantine make it possible to achieve your purpose and duration of the trip, justifying the current trip.
Further Information regarding current quarantine regulations can be found here and on the Website of the Federal Foreign Office.
Regulations on accomodation in Germany
Due to the partial lockdown in Germany many Hotels, pensions and guest-houses are closed or may close. When a Schengen visa is issued, the German Missions in South Africa cannot foresee that the booked accommodation will still be open at the time of arrival in Germany. Hotel closures due to a lack of demand can be expected. If there is no additional booking confirmation, the traveler may be denied entry by the German Federal Police.
Therefore for Schengen visa applications, additional documents regarding accomodation must be submitted with immediate effect:
• A hotel booking confirmation for business travelers, which was issued after 29.01.2021 and confirms the reservation. The applicant needs to travel with the requested document on hand.
• Confirmation from the family that was issued after 29.01.2021 that accommodation will be provided by them. The applicant needs to travel with the requested document on hand.
List of exceptions from entry restrictions for short-term stays in Germany
A) Family Visits:
Visits by members of the so-called nuclear family (i.e. spouses, registered partners, minor children and parents of minor children) of the following group of persons:
• German citizens
• European Union citizens
• Citizens of the United Kingdom, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Norway or Iceland
• Third-country nationals with an existing long-term right of residence and residence in an EU or Schengen member state or the UK (residence permit or long-term visa)
To be submitted additionally:
• Proof of the family relationship and passport copy of the family member who is being visited
Short-term visits of first or second degree relatives not belonging to the “nuclear” family for imperative family reasons such as
• Births; Weddings; Deaths / Funerals
• Special exceptional cases for which there is compelling reason.
To be submitted additionally:
• Proof of the urgent reason for travel and the family relationship
Short-term visits by the third-country partner to a nonmarried/non-registered partner in Germany and for marriage if:
• It is a long-term, permanent relationship / partnership;
• Both partners having met at least once in person;
• The partner issuing the invitation is a German citizen, a citizen of another EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom or a third-country national with a long-term residence permit for Germany.
To be submitted additionally:
• a written invitation from the person living in Germany, as well as a copy of the identity documents of the person issuing the invitation,
• a declaration of the existence of the relationship, signed by both partners and including the contact details of both partners, and
• other suitable evidence of previous personal meetings, in particular passport stamps, travel documents / flight tickets or a shared residence in another country; additional documentation such as photos, social media posts, postal/email correspondence etc. may also be provided.
Joint visits by unmarried couples from abroad if
• There are urgent reasons (e.g. wedding, illness or funeral of close relatives)
• One of the partners is a German citizen or a citizen of another EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or the United Kingdom.
• The relationship/partnership is of a long term-nature, i.e. intended to be lasting and both partners having a joint place of residence abroad.
To be submitted additionally:
• A written explanation of the urgent reason for the joint entry with a declaration of the existence of the relationship, signed by both partners and including the contact details of both partners, and
• Proof of the existing relationship, particularly proof of a joint place of residence abroad (e.g. residence registration certificate). Supplementary proof may be provided in the form of photos, social media, letters and email correspondence.
B) Business trips and work purposes
Business trips for specialists or highly qualified people
To be submitted additionally:
• A declaration on the absolute necessity for a business trip at short notice personally signed by the business partner or employer in Germany. (n.B: a declaration by a business partner or employer in the sending State (third country) is not sufficient by itself). The letter by the German business partner / employer must contain the declaration that the trip cannot be postponed, the work cannot be carried out abroad and is absolutely necessary for economic reasons. (Sample letter)
• Proof that the business traveler is a specialist or highly qualified Person
Trade Fair exhibitors
To be submitted additionally:
• Confirmation of participation by the trade fair organizer
Trade Fair visitors
To be submitted additionally:
• Entry ticket to the fair
• Confirmation by at least one exhibitor that an appointment has been scheduled for a business meeting at the trade fair
Assembly specialists
To be submitted additionally:
• Contract for work and services
• Contractor´s employment confirmation for the traveller
• Labour Agency´s confirmation of receipt for the notification made by the customer having commissioned the assembly or disassembly in question
To be submitted additionally:
• Confirmation from the employer about the purpose of the trip
• Seafarers’ book
Professional athletes taking part in competitions / tournaments
To be submitted additionally:
• Invitation / confirmation of participation from the German organizer
Umpires taking part in competitions / tournaments or international sporting events in Germany
To be submitted additionally:
• Invitation by the respective German Federal Sports Federation or accreditiation by the organizing committee
Journalists in particularly justified individual cases
To be submitted additionally:
• Letter by the employer specifying the particular need for travel
Employees for religious reasons in particularly justified cases
To be submitted additionally:
• Letter by the employer in Germany specifying the particular need for travel
Artists in particularly justified individual cases
To be submitted additionally:
• Letter by the German organizer specifying the particular need for travel
C) Other travel purposes:
Travel for compelling medical reasons
To be submitted additionally:
• Verification and confirmation that treatment cannot be carried out in SA and that without the treatment; the condition would be life threatening and further damage could occur (sample doctors’ certificate)
• Confirmation by the receiving clinical institution in Germany about scheduled medical Treatment
Participation in court hearings
To be submitted additionally:
• Summons from the German court
If you are planning a long term stay in Germany (such as for work or family reunification) you can find more information here.
Frequently asked questions to the Corona-Virus situation in Germany can be found here.