Statement from the South African Department of Home Affairs – Children Travels

Statement from the South African Department of Home Affairs


 

Jun 11, 2014

There has been a lot of consternation regarding new regulations promulgated by the South African Department of Home Affairs regarding the need for children travelling with adults to be in possession of original unabridged birth certificates.

SATSA has been actively engaging with our new Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, who in turn has been in discussions with his cabinet colleagues. It is with some sense of relief that the Department of Home Affairs issued a statement last night that the regulations will now only become effective from 1 October 2014. Please see the Department of Home Affairs website here.

“I would like to assure members that SATSA will continue to oppose draconian legislation that impedes the tourism potential to South Africa,” says SATSA CEO David Frost. “As an organization we support the need for proper regulations with respect to incoming tourism, but the heavy-handed and non-consultative approach exhibited by the Department of Home Affairs is to be strongly countered.”

Frost furthers: “This extends to the imposition of biometric visa requiring applicants to appear in person, which will severely impact growing markets such as India and China. Furthermore, we will work with our fellow associations BASA, ASATSA and Fair Trade in Tourism, through the auspices of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA), and our Ministry of Tourism, to seek a more structured engagement with the Department of Home Affairs, where we can assert a tourism agenda in these deliberations.”

 

New SA regulations for travelling with kids

New SA regulations for travelling with kids

2014-06-09 09:21 News24

South Africa’s new immigration law makes extending visitors visa difficult, which could be detrimental to our tourism industry.

Cape Town – South Africa’s immigration laws have recently undergone an intense revision with newly appointed Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba saying the amendments are “in the best interest of South Africa’s security and allows for efficient management of migration”.

The department also expressed concern about the growing issue of child trafficking and has announced new requirements for adults travelling with children.

What you need to know

Parents travelling internationally with children would now be requested to provide an unabridged birth certificate (including the details of the child’s father as well as the mother) of all travelling children. This applies even when both parents are travelling with their children and it also applies to foreigners and South Africans alike.

When children are travelling with guardians, these adults are required to produce affidavits from parents proving permission for the children to travel.

It is important for parents to note that unabridged birth certificate applications can take anything from six to eight weeks to complete. The new requirement comes into effect from 1 July 2014 for all travel to and from South Africa.

Following are the new South African immigration regulations concerning travelling with children:

Regulation 6: (12)

(a) Where parents are travelling with a child, such parents must produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child reflecting the particulars of the parents of the child.

(b) In the case of one parent travelling with a child, he or she must produce an unabridged birth certificate and-

(i) consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered as a parent on the birth certificate of the child authorising him or her to enter into or depart from the Republic with the child he or she is travelling with;

(ii) a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child, if he or she is the parent or legal guardian of the child; or

(iii) where applicable, a death certificate of the other parent registered as a parent of the child on the birth certificate;

Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

(c) Where a person is travelling with a child who is not his or her biological child, he or she must produce-

(i) a copy of the unabridged birth certificate of the child;

(ii) an affidavit from the parents or legal guardian of the child confirming that he or she has permission to travel with the child;

(iii) copies of the identity documents or passports of the parents or legal guardian of the child; and

(iv) the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child, Provided that the Director-General may, where the parents of the child are both deceased and the child is travelling with a relative or another person related to him or her or his or her parents, approve such a person to enter into or depart from the Republic with such a child.

(d) Any unaccompanied minor shall produce to the immigration officer-

(i) proof of consent from one of or both his or her parents or legal guardian, as the case may be, in the form of a letter or affidavit for the child to travel into or depart from the Republic: Provided that in the case where one parent provides proof of consent, that parent must also provide a copy of a court order issued to him or her in terms of which he or she has been granted full parental responsibilities and rights in respect of
the child;

(ii) a letter from the person who is to receive the child in the Republic, containing his or her residential address and contact details in the Republic where the child will be residing;

(iii) a copy of the identity document or valid passport and visa or permanent residence permit of the person who is to receive the child in the Republic; and (iv) the contact details of the parents or legal guardian of the child.

Change the New Immigration Laws in S.Africa passed on 26 May 2014. We call for an immediate revise by the HA Committee

Change the New Immigration Laws in S.Africa passed on 26 May 2014. We call for an immediate revise by the HA Committee

Why this is important to me

Dear Mr. Malusi Gigaba,

The Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs needs to meet immediately in order to revise and debate the new legislation brought into effect without public appeal or grace period on the 26th of May 2014. The reasons for the immediate revision of the laws are listed below and have been collected from various South Africans and foreigners working in SA and which have since been published on a multitude media channels across South Africa and abroad since the new laws were passed:

– The department did not allocate sufficient time for public comment in February when the draft regulations were gazetted.

– The regulations’ various omissions and lack of definitions and criteria raise serious concerns and will be subject to misappropriation and abuse by the department and its officials.

– The new immigration law prohibits foreigners from using agents or lawyers for visa applications, calling for all applicants to apply in person.

– People who enter South Africa as visitors are barred from renewing or changing their visa status while in the country. Foreigners must renew visas from the country they reside in.

– It has left thousands of people trapped both in and outside the South African borders with no body/ organization / institution or entity not even the newly appointed VFS Global to turn to in order to resolve each case.

– Mothers and/or fathers are being declared “undesirable” and banned for 12 to 60 months, often because the Department concerned is unable to process their applications within a reasonable time.

While the regulations governing travel for foreigners residing in SA, and children, may well be correct and good, their implementation without a period of grace leaves much to be desired.

– The new regulations also affect businesses looking for workers with skills they cannot find locally and could frustrate highly skilled foreigners seeking to live and work here lawfully.

– The fact is that some people applied for permits/visas up to two years ago, and now find themselves unable to leave the country for fear of being banned and thus separated from their families.

– It’s going to be longer processing times; it’s going to be a lot more documentation. The process is going to be very cumbersome and it is almost certainly going to detract from foreign investors wanting to invest, start businesses and work with South African businessmen.

– A British national Olivia Lock, like many others, who is married to a South African, was banned in May for 12 months for leaving South Africa while on an expired visa. She had been waiting for the outcome of her visa renewal application.

– Before, one could travel using a receipt from home affairs indicating their application was pending but now this is no longer the case and anyone travelling on an expired permit could be declared “undesirable” and banned from returning to the country for up to five years.

– Under the new regulations applicants for general work visas will be required to obtain certification from the department of labour, stating among other things that their salary and benefits are commensurate with those paid to South African citizens in similar positions. How long this will take to process “remains to be seen”.

– The revised immigration rules do not take into account South Africa’s labour context and skills shortages, which might discourage foreign investors.

– The Board of Airline Representatives South Africa (Barsa) said in a statement made available to APA on Tuesday that the new immigration rules would cost the country billions in lost tourism business.

– Furthermore, the full cost of these regulations to our local economy and country’s reputation remain to be seen.

In less than a month the new regulations have already ripped apart families, dissuaded investors, and led to the suspension and even cancellation of multi-million rand film and tourism ventures and much more. As FIPSA chairman, Gershon Mosiane, pointed out “The Constitutional Court says you cannot deprive someone the right to live (as they want). We don’t want an environment of anarchy; we want a constitution in line with the international law.” Chairman of the Immigration Law Specialist Committee of the Law Society of South Africa Julian Pokroy agrees: “Family life (is sacrosanct) and anything that prevents people from being together is unconstitutional”. Thus we ask for the following actions to be put into place and emergency meeting of the Home Affairs Portfolio Committee to discuss the following:

IMMEDIATELY:

We propose the implementation of a period of grace (six months) in the implementation of the new regulations, so that:

– Foreigners resident in South Africa can travel in and out of the country with receipts proving that the necessary applications for visas or permits have been made for that period, and until their applications have been finalized;

– People can travel with their children;

– People have sufficient time to obtain all necessary documents, such as unabridged birth certificates, passports, identity documents and visas or permits, before issuing new regulations, which require these documents.

-A meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and request that these regulations be reviewed and debated by the committee and a sufficient grace period be given to current applicants in order to clarify and determine the below points:

• The list of skills eligible for the newly instituted Critical Skills work visa;

• What according to the Department and its regulations is considered businesses in the ‘national interest’; and

• What the Department and its regulations consider “undesirable business” among other things.

We understand that your objective is to protect the integrity of our borders and the sovereignty of our country, but the above reasons are enough proof that they in fact do not facilitate socio-economic development of this great country. We therefore ask that this matter be brought to your immediate attention and the above points and issues raised be resolved in accordance with our constitution.

Posted June 10, 201

 

DA calls for review of new immigration law

DA calls for review of new immigration law

2014-06-09 14:32 News 24.com

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South Africa’s new immigration law makes extending visitors visa difficult, which could be detrimental to our tourism industry.

Cape Town – Government’s newly-introduced immigration regulations need a rethink, the Democratic Alliance said on Monday.

“Media reports and public outcry suggest that in less than a month the new regulations have already ripped apart families, dissuaded investors, and led to the suspension and even cancellation of multi-million rand film and tourism ventures,” DA MP Haniff Hoosen said in a statement.

He called for the regulations to be reviewed and debated by Parliament’s home affairs portfolio committee.

“[Home Affairs] Minister Malusi Gigaba’s assertion that the… recently-gazetted immigration regulations are in the best interest of South Africa’s security is an insufficient excuse for inefficient policy.”

Omissions and lack of definitions and criteria raised serious concerns about the new regulations, which would be subject to “misappropriation and abuse” by the department of home affairs and its officials.

“Furthermore, the full cost of these regulations to our local economy and the country’s reputation remain to be seen” he said.

– SAPA

 

SA government out to punish foreigners – immigration expert

SA government out to punish foreigners – immigration expert

10 June, 09:45 AM

Is South Africa’s new, tighter immigration policy a sign of lurking government xenophobia? Immigration law expert Gary Eisenberg believes so. News 24

New visa rules: Why are we building barriers?

New visa rules: Why are we building barriers

Cape Town – The new South African immigration and visa rules, instituted by the department of home affairs at the end of May, has been the cause for heated debate amongst major tourism bodies.

Cape Town Tourism has confirmed it is working in conjunction with the City of Cape Town, WESGRO, Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) and various representatives from and on behalf of the tourism industry to meet with national department of tourism to “understand the full impact of the new procedures, in order to evaluate the impact and assess the necessary reaction plan”.

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy says the new regulations “Pose a serious threat to tourism growth. Whilst many countries are doing their utmost to make travel user-friendly, we are building barriers. This does not bode well for our efforts to attract developing markets and it will certainly be a deterrent to those wanting to enjoy extended stays in Cape Town.”

Amongst the key issues affecting tourism are:

•    The fact that in-destination visitors can only apply for a visa extension under new grounds (with the exception of life-saving emergency treatment) from their country of origin, essentially meaning that visitors wishing to extend their stay will find it prohibitive to do so.

•    Parents travelling with children are expected to produce an unabridged birth certificate for travel – this is not the standard certificate supplied and must be applied for, a process that can take up to three months. A grace period has been introduced to phase in this procedure and now only takes effect in October.

•    Visas processed in India and China must now be biometrically created. Since there are only two active biometric stations, would-be travellers must first travel to the city where the biometric system is housed – this may be at a significant distance from the travellers place of origin.

CTT has consulted with several stakeholders from the industry and has found that youth travel, the habitual holidays of European “swallow” travellers, socially conscious tourism such as voluntourism, family holidays, and business and conferencing tourism are all under significant threat. The new procedures also complicate access for the film and entertainment industry.

Duminy said the process was not phased in consultatively, highlighting the disinformation and confusion currently at play within the sector.

“We will certainly do all we can to better understand the issues and repercussions of these changes, and we will represent the interests of our members and the industry.”

According to Global Migration South Africa, the new visa procedures could put R1 billion in investment and 1 600 local jobs at risk.

Rob Kucera, FEDHASA Cape’s newly elected Chairperson, adds; “FEDHASA Cape is deeply concerned by reports on the amendments to the Immigrations Act.
We are concerned that we were not taken into confidence before the amendments were drafted and later approved. Consequently, this will have a negative business impact on tourism, which currently contributes more than R93 billion to the country’s GDP and over 610 000 direct jobs.”

Chris Whelan of Accelerate Cape Town concludes; “Migration policies must align with the economic realities and incentives of the main actors, i.e. the migrants themselves and their employer. To be at the forefront of this economy you need a world-class city and country that has a ready supply of intellectual capital.  Companies in the knowledge economy need easy access to this talent. Our visa regime clearly needs to reflect this reality.”

SA govt stops processing permits for Zimbabweans

SA govt stops processing permits for Zimbabweans

17 May 2014

 

The MDC-T SA has reacted with shock and horror to the directive by the South African Department of Home Affairs instructing its officials to stop processing any document related to the Zimbabwe Documentation Project.

The worst fears of millions of Zimbabweans living and working in the neighbouring country have been confirmed, says the party’s spokesperson Rogers Mudarikwa.

Under the documentation project Zimbabweans were issued with four-year renewable work permits.

“In meetings four years ago we sat with the then Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, now chair of the African Union, and her Director General Nkuseni. The minister promised to renew the work permits upon expiry. She dismissed our suspicions that this was an intelligence gathering exercise. Now, four years down the line, the South African government is singing a different tune,” said Mudarikwa.

“Home Affairs is no longer renewing the permits. The department is also not re-issuing new work permits for those who lost their passports containing valid work-permits. Those who got two years work permits on the basis of the ending life-span of their passports are not being issued the remaining two years – even after acquiring new passports. We wonder if we made a mistake to trust the government of South Africa,” he fumed.

Home Affairs officials in Johannesburg told MDC-T officials today that they were completely in the dark. The department is now saying Zimbabweans must apply for the renewal of their work-permits from Harare. The officials said the decision to stop the project was a complete u-turn to what was agreed on between the Minister and members of the stakeholders forum that resulted in the documentation project.

The project was initially shunned by Zimbabweans who suspected that the South African government was trying to flush them out. But when MDC-T officials in South Africa encouraged fellow Zimbabweans to participate in the project, more than 250,000 came out and applied for the four-year permits. Those with refugee statuses were coaxed into surrendering them in exchange for work permits.

“Zimbabweans feel deceived by the South African government. The ANC government is now running away from their signatures. It is ironic that such a revolutionary party whose leadership was kept comfortably in Zimbabwe during their liberation struggle could treat us like that. We have a strong suspicion that the current Minister of Home Affairs, Naledi Pandor, has little understanding of challenges faced by Africans. We urge the ANC government to be sensitive, compassionate and considerate. Such a decision by the government has the potential to fan xenophobic attacks,” says a statement from the MDC-T.

The party has urged all Zimbabweans to email or call senior officials in the Home Affairs department urging them to reconsider this decision: Mkuseli Apleni: Director General, 082 449 7535, (012)406 2501 email: Mkuseli.apleni@dha.gov.za OR Jackie Mckay,

 

Bulawayo24.com – by Staff reporter