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The ‘quick’ visa South Africans are using to move to the US

With major industry, excellent job prospects and sound investment opportunities, the states of Florida and Texas are currently the most popular destinations where South Africans applying for residency and then citizenship via the USA’s Immigrant Investor EB-5 Programme, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.
Golding said that the programme, which offers the opportunity to invest in the USA and become a resident, remains the quickest and simplest route to gain lawful and legitimate access to the US for applicants and their immediate family to live, study and work there.
“By investing $900,000 (R13.2 million) in a US Government approved development in a designated Targeted Employment Area one is guaranteed Green Card status, while your capital is protected in an active investment in the US – with full return of funds after the end of the project, and you are eligible for a US passport after five years.
“It would appear that the lockdown experienced due to Covid-19 has given family units and individuals time to reconsider their career paths in conjunction with immigration options and as a result, we’ve noticed an increased demand from millennials who are looking at immigration coupled with business and career advancement, with the US being an obvious choice for many.”
Chris Immelman, who heads up Pam Golding International, said the applicants applying for the EB-5 investor programme are a combination of high net-worth individuals, as well as families who are willing to assist their children in looking at immigration options.
While there are also numerous retirees, these are followed by millennials and families emanating from Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape, he said.
“Interestingly, the impact of the pandemic in the USA has not impacted enquiries from applicants in any way – it appears the investors are more positively focused on the ability of the US economy to regain its traction and dominance.
“We continually conduct research, including on the ground research in the US, to find the most suitable developments to invest in, and then present these fully vetted investment projects to the South African market.”
Popular because of simplicity
Stuart Ferguson, chief executive of immigration specialists American Dream, said that the EB-5 programme is popular because of its streamlined application process.
“We are also seeing a faster adjudication process, with our current processing timeframe dropping from approximately 20 to 13 months, and with South Africans enjoying the advantage of visa availability and priority adjudication,” he said.
“The EB-5 Investor Visa gives you and your family, including dependent children under the age of 21, the right to live, work, study or build a business anywhere in the United States, and, after a five-year period, you and your family then have the right to become US citizens.
“A further benefit is that once you are a US passport holder, you have the benefit of visa-free travel to approximately 160 countries.”
For families with school-going children, Ferguson said that this programme allows children access to leading top-ranking schools, which is coupled with the high standard of tertiary education in the US.

Thousands to face visa renewal hurdles after being cut from critical skills list

New bill looks set to create serious challenges for skilled foreigners already working in SA
Thousands of skilled people working in SA could face visa renewal challenges, or even be forced to leave the country, if their job descriptions have been cut from the latest SA critical skills list, which has just been released for public comment.
Despite warnings from experts in recent years the new bill on international migration, and the new critical skills list, look set to block foreign direct investment and skills flows to the country and create serious challenges for skilled foreigners already working in SA.
As the first amendment since 2014, the new list is long overdue. However, there is cause for concern that the first new list in more than six years is dramatically shorter than the list in force, with only 126 categories. If the list is approved in its current state foreigners whose skills are no longer included may be unable to renew their visas and find themselves and their families being forced to leave.
Designations that have been eliminated include agricultural scientists, corporate GMs, telecommunications & ICT solutions architects, security network specialists, database specialists, foreign language speakers for specialist language & technical sales support, a broad range of specialist engineers, biochemists, biological and environmental scientists, water resource scientists, astronomers and physicists. Doctoral qualifications acquired abroad have also been removed from the list, raising concerns about the new list’s impacts on academia and cross-border skills transfer and knowledge sharing.
It should also be noted that this new list does not match the department of higher education & training’s list of occupations in high demand, despite the two lists ostensibly being aimed at the same goal: the identification of skills SA needs but lacks. For example, the department’s list includes high-demand occupations such as psychologists, lawyers, social workers and dentists.
Importantly, the new list requires virtually all applicants to have academic qualifications, but does not make provision for work experience. This means the doors to the country are in effect shut to experienced businesspeople, foreigners with much-needed foreign language skills to support the business process outsourcing sector and enable international diplomacy and trade, and those working in new IT fields for which there are few formal qualifications.
In terms of the Immigration Act critical skills are those essential for the country but that SA lacks in the necessary numbers. Because of their desirable status, critical skills visa holders may bring their families with them, and they are explicitly not restricted to a single employer. In practice, those who enter the country on critical skills work visas now appear to be tied to particular employers or are only issued with visas valid for 12 months, requiring the holder to resubmit a full new application with all the required documentation 10 months later, two months before the expiry period.
So people with the critical skills SA needs must go through the burden and costs again to receive a visa that may now be valid for five years but will still be tied to one particular employer. In theory, the visa should be issued for a maximum period of five years without any specific employer annotated, regardless of whether an employment contract is submitted with the application. In practice this will make the critical skills visa little different from the usual work visa, which runs contrary to the legislature’s intention in creating the critical skills visa regime as set out in the act, regulations and skills list.
The aims of the act in providing for critical skills visas are to attract to the country rare and desirable skills that are not commonly available among the SA populace. In short, these visa holders are a benefit to SA and are not taking any South African’s job. In spite of this and contrary to input and contributions from a wide range of stakeholders, the new critical skills list still appears to be unnecessarily restrictive. This reinforces earlier concerns that the inputs by business and industry have been ignored in favour of those by the departments of home affairs, employment & labour and higher education & training.
A balance needs to be achieved between directly creating employment for South Africans and encouraging skilled people and business investors to enter the country, where they can create jobs, participate in skills transfer and help grow the economy. However, this will all be meaningless if these applications are not processed in terms of the Immigration Act and the regulations by properly trained administrative officers.

So much to do in Cape Town – the non-beach options

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent address, which confirmed that South Africa would remain on Alert Level three – extending the closure of South Africa’s beaches, parks, dams and rivers, and continuing the ongoing ban on all alcohol sales – has somewhat dampened enthusiasm for Cape Town holidays. However, a family visit to the Cape this month revealed that there are still dozens of things to do in the region, which pose a very low risk of exposure to COVID-19. The region has been emptied of international tourists, which made us feel that we had the place to ourselves. Some options that remain open for visitors to enjoy include:
• Boulders Beach – This beach in Simon’s Town, which is home to a rare colony of African penguins, remains open, as it falls within the region of Table Mountain National Park. Follow the raised wooden walkways built above the beach down to the edge of the sea and enjoy up-close sightings of these comical seabirds.
• The Cape of Good Hope – Famously described by Francis Drake in 1580 as “the fairest Cape in all the world” this peninsula (and the drive to get there from Cape Town) offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Enjoy a trip up to the lighthouse on the funicular (the funicular cars are sanitised from top to bottom between every ride and only carry very limited numbers) and enjoy magnificent views along the cliffside walkways. The reserve is home to eland, zebra, bontebok, red hartebeest and troops of baboon.
• Table Mountain – One of the new seven wonders of the world, this iconic flat-topped mountain looms majestically over the city of Cape Town and is easily accessible from the centre of town. Enjoy spectacular hikes in the reserve or take the cable car straight to the top.
• Slangkop – We also found that the Slangkop boardwalk, which is part of Table Mountain National Park, was open. Meander from the famous Slangkop lighthouse, located in the laid-back seaside town of Kommetjie, along the winding boardwalk that takes you on a picturesque journey through stretches of fynbos and milkwood forests, with beautiful seaside views.
• The promenade – Situated next to the beach but not on it, the famous promenade with its wide-open stretches of grass and art displays remains open to enjoy. Bicycles can be hired and dropped off at the Seapoint Pavilion, in Camps Bay or at the V&A Waterfront, allowing holiday-makers to explore the flat paved pathways that extend along the Atlantic Seaboard.
• Boating trips – Boat excursions are still departing from Hout Bay harbour to the seal colony on Duiker Island and we enjoyed an hour-long cruise. Hout Bay is also famous for its fish and chips, which can be enjoyed at harbour-front restaurants or as take-aways if you are trying to avoid eating-in.
• Silvermine – If you’ve ever driven along Ou Kaapse Weg from Constantia to Noordhoek, you would have passed through the magnificent Silvermine Reserve, which offers some of the best hikes in the Cape and magnificent aerial views of the Peninsula.
• Green Point Park – While we initially thought that this park was closed, we later discovered that access was restricted to a single gate and that the park management were only permitting entrance to a total of 250 people. With such a big area to spread out in we didn’t notice anyone else in the park during our visit. Stopping for an ice-cream at The Creamery across the road from the park is also highly recommended.
• Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – The gardens are also restricting access numbers, allowing visitors to easily practise distancing. The kids particularly enjoyed the scented herb garden, the Protea Gardens with their magnificent mountain views, and the Boomslang canopy walkway.
• Robben Island Museum – Ferry trips and tours of the island are still taking place but have reduced numbers and do not operate daily. It is therefore important to plan to visit the island in advance and to pre-book tickets.

Virtual Office and Remote Working

Why only 1 office and remote working during lockdown Covid 19
Like many businesses in South Africa , Covid 19 has had a devasting effect on how they function in terms of staffing and how many people are allowed inside the office at a time .
With the government advocating 50 % or less staff in the office , we tried that and having the team working remotely but it didn’t work very well as we had to schedule conference calls or zoom / teams / skype calls and we had many connectivity issues either with the clients or our team given network or mobile coverage .
In addition we had a number of satellite offices either 2 or 3 people all over South Africa , like Durban , Johannesburg , Port Elizabeth and Pretoria but with Covid 19 we found that when we catered for 1 staff member in the office presented a few challenges , either suspected Covid 19 scares with family or friends , or comorbidities like high blood pressure , asthma or diabetes and an appointment with a client , they did not show up or called in sick etc , it played havoc with our brand where people thought we were not serious . You will be aware many government departments open and close leaving much to be desired in terms of rendering services to their clients and here Home Affairs , Civic , Immigration and Refugee affairs are prime examples .
We have learned from this and asked ourselves how could we be operational 100 % of the time , keeping our people safe , allow continuity in our business , ensure clients were served , calls answered , files kept up to date and to this end we came up with the “ silo “ concept very much like future doomsday events depicted in movies and we invested heavily in cloud technology , remote access , secure encrypted calls , allow our staff to be at work 100 % of the time in secure bubbles where they worked in a sterile environment and we slowly shut down our remote satellite offices and brough the team to head office .
Further many of our European , American , Asian ( Chinese etc ) were already used to this and preferred this as they wanted to feel safe . It was a education process with the rest of our clientele and only in exceptional cases we allow clients to visit us , but when it happens it is always in a sterile bubble because we don’t know where our clients may have been and one year later we pride ourselves on not having had 1 Covid 19 incident amongst our team or their families .
I hope this covers any questions you may have in that regard

UK’s updated ‘red list’ for travel causes more headaches for South Africans

The United Kingdom has added Ethiopia, Oman, Somalia and Qatar to its travel ‘red list’, to protect the country against new variants of Covid-19.
While South Africa remains on the original red list of countries, the update will cause additional headaches for travellers who were planning to fly to the UK indirectly through a connecting flight.
A BusinessTech reader indicated that he had to cancel his flight to the UK, which connected through Doha in Qatar, due to the new restrictions.
Visitors who have departed from or transited through these countries in the previous 10 days will be refused entry into England. This includes South Africa.
Only British and Irish citizens or those with residence rights, including long-term visa holders, will be allowed to enter and must stay in a government-approved facility for 10 days.
During their stay, they will be required to take a coronavirus test on day two and day eight.
“The government continues to work with the hospitality sector to ensure it is ready to meet any increased demand – with over 58,000 rooms on standby, which can be made available to book as needed,” the Home Office said.
“British nationals currently in the countries on the red list should make use of the commercial options available if they wish to return to England. Commercial routes that will enable British and Irish nationals and residents to return to England continue to operate.”
Continued restrictions
Last week UAE-based airline Emirates announced that flights from South Africa will remain suspended until 20 March 2021.
This is in line with government directives that restrict the entry of travellers originating from South Africa into the UAE, the airline said in a notice published on its website.
Daily passenger flights to Johannesburg resumed from 11 March as initially planned – however, outbound flights remain suspended.
“Emirates remains committed to serving our customers in South Africa, and we look forward to resuming passenger services when conditions allow,” it said.
“We continue to work closely with all relevant authorities in this regard, and will endeavour to provide our customers with needed support to adjust their travel plans.”
Virgin Atlantic also extended its ban on flights to and from South Africa and may not resume flights until April. British Airways announced the suspension of all South Africa flights until 16 April.
A number of countries have also indicated that travellers from South Africa will be barred from entering – a sign that the country could be facing reputational damage as a result of the 501Y.V2 variant of Covid-19, which has been referred to as the “South African variant” abroad

I’m pregnant. What visa options are available to let my boyfriend stay in SA longer than 3 months?

A life partner visa is a temporary residence permit that a foreigner who is not married but is in a permanent relationship with a South African citizen can apply for.
The short answer
He could apply for a number of visas: work, critical skills, life partner or (eventually) a relative visa
The whole question
Dear ?
I have been in a relationship with my Serbian boyfriend for almost two years now. We recently found out that I am pregnant. Although we are not quite ready for marriage yet, we would love to raise our child together.
What options do we have in terms of him coming to stay in South Africa for longer than three months at a time on a tourist visa?
The long answer
There are a number of visas that he could apply for, including a work visa, a critical skills visa, a life partner visa or a relative visa. Given the pandemic, however, and the suspension of many services by Home Affairs during the lockdown, all applications are bound to take even longer than usual.
For all the visas he would need passport, completed visa application form and various police and medical clearances.
*For a work visa*, he would need to have a written offer of employment from a South African employer who would need to prove that a suitable South African could not be found to fill the advertised position. A work visa is valid for the period of the contract but not exceeding five years.
*For a critical skills visa*, he would have to list one of the skills on the new critical skills list and the required certification proving his qualifications, as well as proof that he has the financial means to support himself while he looks for employment. The critical skills visa is also valid for up to five years.
A life partner visa is a temporary residence permit that a foreigner who is not married but is in a permanent relationship with a South African citizen can apply for. The application must be made from the applicant’s country unless he is here on a temporary visa like the general work permit. You would have to prove that the two of you had been in a long-term relationship for two years and that you are a couple that is emotionally and financially dependent on each other. You would need to show shared financial arrangements and provide letters of support for the application from family and friends. You would have to have separate interviews with Home Affairs officials to establish the authenticity of your relationship. This is a temporary residence permit that is typically given for two to three years but can be extended if you can prove that the relationship is still viable. One of the advantages of this kind of permit is that he can apply for an endorsement for work if he gets a suitable offer of employment when he has been granted the life partner visa, without going through the onerous business of getting a South African employer to prove that he could find no suitable South African to fill an advertised post. He can also apply for an endorsement to study.
South African child. As the South African citizen, you would need to prove that you have the financial resources to support him. This visa is issued for up to two years at a time and he would not be allowed to study, open a business or work during the two years.
At the present time, all international travellers must present a valid certificate of a negative test result for Covid-19 that is less than 72hours old at th e time of departure.

Illegal in South Africa – Lockdown – Cannot get asylum – Law enforcement bothering you – Legal Immigration Services

We have assisted many illegal foreigners who have been arrested by law enforcement officials and they are now free !!!
Under lockdown there is much confusion about what the rights of an illegal foreigner who cannot apply for asylum or is being hassled and harassed by the police , SAPS .
Let us provide you with the documents during lockdown that will give you peace of mind in terms of what your rights are during Covid 19 .
Our dynamic team of immigration consultants provide specialist advice on temporary residence visas, permanent residence permits, appeals on rejected applications, undesirable declaration waivers, V-listing and legal immigration services. Get in touch with us if you’d like a professional yet personal experience provided by our experienced consultants.
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