Feb 19, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

New’ UAE visa rules for Nigerians cause uproar

2015-02-17 08:37
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Cape Town – Various media reports have suggested that the United Arab Emirates are clamping down on the entry of Nigerian citizens into the country, by forcing all unmarried men and woman under the age of 40 to be accompanied by a family member over 40.
TravelNaija.com reported that new visa rules for Nigerians wanting to enter Dubai and the other Emirates, are as follows:
– Single ladies/men travelling alone should be 40 years old and above
– Married women travelling with children should be above 40 years old.
– Ladies/men who are less than 40 years old will be allowed to travel if accompanied by someone who is above 40 and bears the same surname with them.
Unsurprisingly, the reports have caused an uproar among young Nigerians.
However, it seems like there’s very little to panic about as AllAFrica.com has reported that these are merely rumours. According to the report, a staff member of the UAE embassy in Abuja who pleaded anonymity, said that they had been receiving a flood of complaints about the purported visa changes, but ensured Nigerian citizens that they were nothing more than rumours.
Traveller24 has contacted the Dubai department of Tourism to confirm if there have been any recent changes to visa requirements for the UAE and has yet to receive an official response.

– Traveller24

Feb 19, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

UK ‘FBI’ only seizes £22m from criminal masterminds since it was set up in 2013 despite £500m budget

• National Crime Agency has only recovered £22.5m in assets from criminals
• This is despite the agency having a budget of half a billion pounds
• Home Affairs Committee says that the agency must ‘drastically improve’
• Report says MPs are not seeing the expected level of performance
By James Slack, Home Affairs Editor for the Daily Mail – Daily Mail
Britain’s ‘FBI’ has recovered only £22.5million in assets from criminal masterminds despite having a budget of £500million.
MPs on the home affairs committee said the National Crime Agency – which was set up in 2013 to seize the proceeds of crime from millionaire villains – must ‘improve drastically’.
‘We are not seeing the level of performance we would expect,’ they said in a report examining policing reforms introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May.
‘It is not recovering assets in sufficient volume to justify a budget of half a billion. The NCA must improve drastically so that the returns achieved equate to the resources available to it.’
However, Westminster’s home affairs committee said its performance was better than the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which recouped only £14.9million of criminal assets in its last year of operation.
The NCA managed to claw back almost £11million in cash and around £5million in property, plus antiques, cars, watches and jewellery.
The MPs also took a swipe at SOCA, whose responsibilities all passed to the NCA, for its ‘unacceptably’ slow handling of a dossier containing more than 2,000 suspected paedophiles who had been viewing child porn websites.
As the Mail highlighted last month, police waited two years before acting on the list of ‘customer’ names supplied by the Canadian authorities.
Investigators in Toronto said they were surprised at the inaction of UK police – who in some cases refused to even answer calls or return messages.
Authorities failed to act even when suspects worked in positions of trust leaving dozens of men, including medical staff, teachers and public sector workers free to continue offending for months.
By contrast more than 50 other countries, including Spain, Mexico and Romania, leapt on the data and made hundreds of arrests.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: ‘The NCA has proved to be more responsive and more active than its predecessor SOCA, but it is not yet the FBI equivalent that it was hailed to be.
‘Its reputation has been damaged by the unacceptably slow response to the backlog of child abuse cases sent to it by Toronto Police.
The committee’s report examined every aspect of policing reform introduced by Mrs May.
The MPs said they are concerned that some police forces fear they will not be able to operate in their current form if they are expected to make further cuts.
The committee said that, if local forces wanted to merge, they should be allowed to do so – an idea which could provoke widespread controversy.
Failure to recover criminal assets has been a long-standing problem for the UK law enforcement authorities.
The National Audit Office recently warned that criminals are only forced to pay back 35p in every £100 they illegally ‘earn’.
The inquiry by the spending watchdog found 673,000 offenders were convicted of a crime in 2012-13, many of which had a financial element, but only 6,400 confiscation orders were made.
Only 2 per cent of offenders paid their confiscation orders in full , the NAO said, because the sanctions which could be imposed for non-payment ‘do not work.’
• A National Crime Agency spokesman said: “The NCA’s aim is to reduce the impact of serious and organised crime, not to generate revenue. Of course we want to deny criminals access to their money whenever we can, but the real value of going after the money comes from its disruptive effect on criminal activity. Targeting criminal cash flow can derail conspiracies, prevent further crimes being bankrolled, damage criminals’ reputations with each other, and can connect higher level players and the professionals essential to money laundering to the crime. That’s why the amount of money we freeze or confiscate does not equal the value of doing it, and why the size of the pot is not an effective measure of success.”

Feb 19, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

No plans to relax immigration rules – Gigaba

2015-02-17 – News24
Pretoria – Government has no plans of relaxing the onerous new immigration rules, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday.
“I think what we need is robust discussion with relevant countries, particular India and China, which are sending us more tourists for us to provide them consular services without us having to relax the [SA visa] requirement,” he told reporters in Pretoria.
“We understand the views of the different parties, but as home affairs we have to do a balancing act between economic development and national security. We wouldn’t want any surprise.”
He said South Africa’s immigration regulations had been breached previously.
Last year, Gigaba had a meeting with his tourism counterpart Derek Hanekom, who has publicly expressed concern that the new immigrant rules would damage the country’s lucrative tourism sector.
The new requirement for in-person biometric data collection when applying for a visa to South Africa, in particular, has met with concern from the tourism sector.
The ministers told reporters they had agreed to co-operate to increase the number of visa application centres abroad, particularly in India and China, who were rapidly growing sources of tourism revenue. Each of those countries had only two such centres.
The number of visitors from China has grown by 235% in the past five year, and those from India by almost 80%, according to Hanekom.
On Tuesday, Gigaba said other countries had stringent immigration regulations.
“We know it causes inconvenience for the ordinary traveller, but it causes for me when I travel to the United States to have to take off my jacket, belt, shoes, socks and to hold on to my pants so that they don’t fall, in order to get into that country,” he said.
A joint task team was established last year between home affairs and the tourism sector. Tourism players in the team include aviation and hospitality.
“One of the things we indicated to them is that we welcome any new ideas about what we could do. There are going to be announcements, we will make, that will make it extremely convenient for tourists to come to South Africa,” he said.
“We cannot elevate the concerns of the industry above the concerns of the security sector. The recent experiences in Kenya and Nigeria do indicate that South Africa must be alert.”
The new immigration rules came into effect on 26 May.
– SAPA

Feb 17, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

No plans to relax immigration rules – Gigaba

2015-02-17 – News24
Pretoria – Government has no plans of relaxing the onerous new immigration rules, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday.
“I think what we need is robust discussion with relevant countries, particular India and China, which are sending us more tourists for us to provide them consular services without us having to relax the [SA visa] requirement,” he told reporters in Pretoria.
“We understand the views of the different parties, but as home affairs we have to do a balancing act between economic development and national security. We wouldn’t want any surprise.”
He said South Africa’s immigration regulations had been breached previously.
Last year, Gigaba had a meeting with his tourism counterpart Derek Hanekom, who has publicly expressed concern that the new immigrant rules would damage the country’s lucrative tourism sector.
The new requirement for in-person biometric data collection when applying for a visa to South Africa, in particular, has met with concern from the tourism sector.
The ministers told reporters they had agreed to co-operate to increase the number of visa application centres abroad, particularly in India and China, who were rapidly growing sources of tourism revenue. Each of those countries had only two such centres.
The number of visitors from China has grown by 235% in the past five year, and those from India by almost 80%, according to Hanekom.
On Tuesday, Gigaba said other countries had stringent immigration regulations.
“We know it causes inconvenience for the ordinary traveller, but it causes for me when I travel to the United States to have to take off my jacket, belt, shoes, socks and to hold on to my pants so that they don’t fall, in order to get into that country,” he said.
A joint task team was established last year between home affairs and the tourism sector. Tourism players in the team include aviation and hospitality.
“One of the things we indicated to them is that we welcome any new ideas about what we could do. There are going to be announcements, we will make, that will make it extremely convenient for tourists to come to South Africa,” he said.
“We cannot elevate the concerns of the industry above the concerns of the security sector. The recent experiences in Kenya and Nigeria do indicate that South Africa must be alert.”
The new immigration rules came into effect on 26 May.
– SAPA

Feb 17, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Hackers steal up to $1bn from banks

2015-02-15 – News 24

New York – A report from a cyber security firm says an international hacking ring has stolen up to $1bn from banks around the globe in what would be one of the biggest banking breaches known.
The hackers have been active since at least the end of 2013 and infiltrated more than 100 banks in 30 countries, according to Russian security company Kaspersky Lab.
After gaining access to banks’ computers through phishing schemes and other methods, they lurk for months to learn the banks’ systems. Then the hackers have programmed ATM’s to dispense money at specific times or set up fake accounts and transferred money into them.
Most of the targets have been in Russia and Eastern Europe. But Kaspersky says banks in the US, Asia and elsewhere in Europe were also targeted.
– AP

Feb 16, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

UK to relax visa rules for SA business travellers

2015-02-16 – Traveller 24

Cape Town – Business travellers wanting to visit the United Kingdom for leisure travel will now be able to do so on a single visa, as the UK announces changes to its visa rules, due to come into effect on April 1.
While South Africans still need a visa to visit the UK – an unpopular development seen as expensive and admin-intensive that was introduced in 2009 in an attempt to reduce “passport fraud and corruption” involving SA passports – business travellers no longer require two separate visas
Home Secretary Theresa May announced that UK would be trying to make itself more attractive to business – resulting in the reform of its immigration system for visitors
“The changes will help simplify and streamline the visitor routes for businesses and leisure travellers, whilst the rebranding of the student visitor route will make it conceptually clearer for people who want to study on short term courses,” Spokesperson for British High Commission in Pretoria Isabel Potgieter said.
“The number of visitor routes will be consolidated from 15 to four as part of a simple new streamlined system for travellers to the UK.
“There will also be new Immigration Rules and Guidance for visitors which are shorter, more user-friendly and easier for people to understand.”
The four new routes include:
1. visitor (standard);
2. visitor (to hold marriage or civil partnership);
3. visitor undertaking permitted paid engagements; and
4. visitor transiting the UK.
Reducing the number of visitor routes on offer is said to give visitors greater flexibility over what they can do when they are in the UK.
“The improvements will make sure people apply for the right visa, and will allow a person to visit for a business meeting and a holiday without having to apply for two separate visas,” Potgieter said.
The changes are set to come into effect from April 2015.
“The new Immigration Rules for visitors will be laid in Parliament on 26 February with changes being phased in from April 2015.”
The British High commission confirmed people can continue to apply for a visit visa in the usual way but that from April 2015, anyone entering using an existing visa will also benefit from the changes.
“So someone who already has a valid business visit visa can use that visa from April to come for a holiday,” Potgieter said.

Feb 16, 2015 - Business Permit    No Comments

Zuma clips Gigaba’s wings

February 13th, 2015 by Andrew Moth

On a night when there were no winners, the biggest loser during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address in Parliament last night was Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Home Affairs.
Under fire for months because of the department’s visa regulations that discourage foreign leisure and business travel to South Africa, Gigaba sat stony-faced as Zuma announced a review of visa regulations.
Zuma said: “To attract foreign skills for our growing economy we will dialogue with various stakeholders on the migration policy. We will also prioritize the review of visa regulations to strike a balance between national security and growth in tourism.”
Zuma struck a second blow at the Department of Home Affairs later in his address when he announced that banks will become involved in the ambitious programme to issue new smart ID cards to all residents of South Africa.
It is widely accepted that the Department of Home Affairs is one of the most dysfunctional government departments. Staff in its offices work in appalling conditions and are overwhelmed by mountains of paperwork and by the fact that many people who need assistance cannot speak, read or write any of South Africa’s official languages.
Showing that he has no faith that the department will be able to manage the task of issuing new ID documents to tens of millions of people, Zuma said: “To further improve access to identity documents, citizens will from this year be able to apply for the new smart ID card at their local bank due to partnership between the Department of Home Affairs and some banks in the country.”
Once seen as a highflier destined for great things, Gigaba has been Minister of Home Affairs since May 2014 but it appears that Zuma has lost confidence and patience in him and the Department of Home Affairs’ most senior officials.
Another controversial part of Zuma’s address concerned his hopes for foreign investment, it is difficult to reconcile these expectations with the fact that foreigners will no longer be able to invest in property in South Africa as he announced last night. It is not clear how that will affect foreign businesses and individuals who currently own land in South Africa.
– See more at: http://www.hotelandrestaurant.co.za/government/zuma-clips-gigabas-wings/#sthash.tqD3Fe4R.dpuf