Home Affairs wants to go easier on visa applications – after rejecting 36,000 last year

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi has released new statistics outlining the number of people that have been denied a visa to South Africa.
Answering during a recent parliamentary Q&A session, Motsoaledi said that 27,772 visas were denied in 2017 while 36,452 applications were denied in 2018.
Further data provided by Motsoaledi said that the majority of these denied requests came from Nigerian nationals with a total of 13,259 combined rejections for 2017 and 2018.
Zimbabwe had the next highest amount of rejections (7,996), followed by Pakistan (7,477).
It should be noted that this data does not account for the total number of applicants from each country which will have a direct impact on the number of applications that are rejected.
You can find a more detailed breakdown of the countries with the most denied applicants below.
Rank Country 2017 2018 Combined total
1 Nigeria 5 928 7 331 13 259
2 Zimbabwe 2 984 5 012 7 996
3 Pakistan 2 724 4 753 7 477
4 India 2 671 3 726 6 397
5 Bangladesh 1 875 3 340 5 215
6 China 1 874 1 712 3 586
7 Other (asylum/refugees) 851 1 051 1 902
8 Democratic Republic of Congo 721 961 1 682
9 Ghana 770 884 1 654
10 Cameroon 613 696 1 309
Visa access
While Motsoaledi did not specify why these visas were denied, he has indicated that his department is working on a number of changes to South Africa’s visa regime in an effort to make the country more accessible for visitors.
He said that the country is also looking to attract investors and people with skills that are critical to building the economy.
Presenting at the monthly Presidential Working Committee on Monday (7 October), Motsoaledi said that his department has lowered turnaround times for critical work skills visas, which are now issued within four weeks in 88.5% of applications.
By comparison, business and general work visas are issued within eight weeks in 98% of applications.
“In November, the Department of Home Affairs will embark on a pilot scheme for the issuing of e-visas, which applicants will be able to access online, eliminating the need for applicants to visit South African missions abroad.
“The department has also located visa services within the offices of various investment facilitation agencies around the country.
“In addition, visa requirements have been simplified for countries such as China and India, which are key markets for tourism to South Africa,” he said.

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