South Africa: SA Marks World Refugee Day

South Africa: SA Marks World Refugee Day

20 June 2014

Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni says his department is finalising a process whereby refugees will be able to apply for their documents at any Home Affairs office throughout the country.

Speaking at an event to commemorate World Refugee Day (WRD) in Pretoria, Apleni said there was a need to develop policies and a legislative framework that will impact positively on the legal and social protection of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.

“We remain committed to securing the legal protection of refugees as provided under international law, and recognised in our entrenched Bill of Rights,” he said.

Apleni said refugees, like South Africans, will be able to apply for smart ID cards.

“Part of the reason we are taking these important measures is to foster social cohesion among all people living in South Africa – irrespective of race, creed, gender or nationality,” he said.

Apleni also emphasized the need to promote educational programmes, inter-cultural and inter-faith dialogues to communities to dispel the myth and misunderstandings that may exist between the different groups.

He called on civil society institutions and all faith-based organisations to play an active role in unifying South Africans and foreign nationals or refugees.

“Together with the UNHRC [United Nations Human Rights Council] and other stakeholders, we will make special efforts to continue pursuing interventions aimed at promoting social cohesion,” he said.

South Africa joined the rest of the world in marking WRD. The partnership between the Department of Home Affairs and the UNHCR dates back to 1993 following the signing of a watershed Memorandum of Understanding aimed at formalising the refugee system in the country, in keeping with international law.

On WRD, the international community seeks to draw attention to the plight of refugees and celebrate their courage and resilience. Also speaking at today’s event — held under the theme ‘Share your Refugee Story – Celebrating 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy’ — was UNHCR Regional Representative, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, who said steps must be taken to promote social cohesion in communities affected by violence.

“The UNHCR stands ready to support government in its efforts to promote social cohesion.

“The government of South Africa adopted one of the best refugee legislations in the world, in terms of refugee rights. Increased efforts need to be undertaken to ensure these rights are respected,” she said.

Nkweta-Salami commended the Department of Home Affairs for taking steps to address the country’s overwhelmed asylum system.

“Having a functioning system is crucial to ensuring that those displaced by violence and conflict are able to receive protection,” she said.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the coming into force of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa.

According to United Nations, more than 50 million people are currently displaced by war and violence, some 33.3 million in their own country and some 16.7 million as refugees, mostly in neighbouring countries.

Last year alone, more than 10 million people were newly displaced; every 15 minutes, one family was forced into flight.

Most of the world’s refugees – 86% – live in the developing world, compared to 70% 10 years ago.



South African Critical Skills Visa List

South African Critical Skills Visa List

04 June 2014



South African Critical Skills Visa List, what you need to know according Nwivisas.

The much anticipated South African Critical Skills Visa list was released this morning, 4 June 2014.

Causing much controversy and speculation among immigrants, travellers, immigration professionals and even the South African Law Society the list was published more than a week after the new immigration act had been gazetted.

While Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba a week ago said that the Critical Skills Visa list would be published in the first week of June he admitted, at the time that the register of jobs regarded as critical or undesirable had not been published yet.

“Undesirable businesses will be things like brothels. Artisans might be critical skills.”They will be gazetted next week and we will have a list,” was all he had to say at the time.

Dr Llewellyn Curlewis, president of the Northern Provinces Law Society, said to Independent News that apart from the fact that this list had not been made available sooner, the regulations still seemed incomplete.

“Department fees for all categories of visas have not been determined; the list of what are ‘critical skills’ has not been published; investment and income levels required for business and retirement permits were omitted from the regulations and the documentation required in order to apply for general and critical skills work visas was not gazetted,” said Curlewis.

This week a storm broke over the validity and legality of certain new visa specifications and questions are being raised about the constitutionality of the new laws. Immigration lawyers and professionals have as a result threatened to go to court.

But Gigaba remained confident the department has covered all the bases saying, “We have tested the regulations in the NCOP (National Council of Provinces) and believe they are constitutional. If anyone believes otherwise, they are most welcome to approach the Constitutional Court. We will contest them there.”

Yesterday, 2 June 2014 in a statement to the media, Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni said; “We need people who will be able to come to our country in order to improve our economy.”

“To do that, we need to bring up permits which will allow people to easily come to the country.”

Among the regulations for the new visa applications is the list of critical skills which had finally been released this morning (4 June 2014).  This list specifies what professions and trades will qualify for work permits regardless of securing an employment offer

Who qualifies?

The newly published “Skills or qualifications determined to be critical for the Republic of South Africa in relation to an application for a Critical Skills Visa or Permanent Residence Permit” – Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) – Section 19(4), to be read with Regulations 19(5), lists the following as being considered some of the critical skills.

The Critical Skills List – Published 3rd June 2014

Business, Economics and Management Studies

Agricultural Engineer
Agricultural Scientist
Forestry Technician
Sheep Shearer
Construction Project Manager
Land Surveyor
Quantity Surveyor
Urban and Regional Planner
Actuaries and Risk Assessors
Corporate General Manager
External Auditor
Financial Investment Advisor

Information Communication & Technology

CISCO Solution Specialist
CISCO Engineers
Solutions Architects in Telecommunications and ICT
Integrated Developers (PHP, PERL, JAVA)
Network Analyst
IT Security Specialist
System Integration Specialist
Enterprise Architects
Data Centre Operations
Network Specialist (Security)
Database Specialist
Microsoft System Engineers
Network Controllers
AV Specialist (Anti-virus)
Desktop Support Engineer


Energy Engineer
Metallurgical Engineer
Chemical Engineer
Civil Engineer
Electrical Engineer
Electrical Installation Inspector
Electronics Engineer
Industrial and Production Engineers
Industrial Designer
Manufacturing Managers
Materials Engineer
Mechanical Engineer
Mining Engineer
Production/Operations Manager
Quality System Manager
Research and Development Manager
Ship’s Engineer
Telecommunications Engineers
Electrical Engineering Technologist
Energy Engineering Technologist
Mechanical Engineering Technologist
Metallurgical Engineering Technologist
Mining Engineering Technologist
Air Conditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber
Automotive Electrician
Automotive Motor Mechanic
Boiler Maker
Chemical Engineering Technologist
Civil Engineering Technologist
Diesel Mechanic
Electronics Engineering Technologist
Fitter and Turner
Materials Engineering Technologist
Mechatronics Technician
Metal Fabricator
Physical and Engineering Science Technicians
Pressure Welder
Structural Plaster

Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences

Medical Superintendant/Public Health Manager
Public Health Physician
General and Specialist Medical Practitioner
Hospital Pharmacist
Nursing Professionals
Registered Nurse (child and family health)
Retail Pharmacist

Life and Earth Sciences

Environmental Engineers
Environmental Manager
Industrial Pharmacist
Aquatic Scientist
Animal Scientist
Advanced Composites Engineering
Archaeological/Paleontological Specialist
Biological Scientist
Botanical Scientist
Chemical Scientist
Computational Biologist
Environmental Scientist
Ecological Scientist
Food Scientist
Engineering Geologist
Geohazards Specialist
Laboratory Technologist and Technician
Marine Bioscientist
Materials Scientist
Metallurgical Scientist
Microbiological Scientist
Polymer Scientist
Protein Scientist
Soil Scientist
Toxicology Scientist
Water Resource Scientist

Professionals and Associate Professional

Land and Engineering Surveyors
Electronic Engineering Technician
Materials Engineering Technologist
Electrical Engineering Technician
Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Practitioner
Mechanical Engineering Technician
Chemical Engineering Technician
Organisation and Methods Analyst (Incl. scheduler, estimator)
Surveying Technician
Geomatics Technician
Quantity Surveying Technician
Civil Engineering Technician
Materials Engineer Non-destructive Testing (NDT)
Materials Engineering Technician – Road materials
Materials Tester
Construction Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) Agent/Manager/Officer
Aeronautical Engineering
Architectural Senior Technologist
Architectural Draughtsperson
Physicist (SKA)
Geomagnetic Physicist
Solar Physicist
Space Physicist
Plasma Physicist
Space Technologist
Space Weather Specialist
Magnetic Technology Specialist
Radar Engineering
Radio Frequency Engineering
Environmental Technologist
Industrial Engineer
Industrial Engineering Technologist
Industrial Engineering Technician
Landscape Architect
Landscape Contract Manager
Landscape Horticulturalist
Mining Technician


Boilermaker (For Strategic Infrastructure Projects)
Industrial Machinery Mechanic
Pipe Fitter
Double Coded Welder
Raise-bore Operators
Raise-bore Foreman

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

Software Development Engineers and Managers
Systems Architects, Engineers and Managers
Foreign Language speakers for specialist language support and technical or sales support (German, Swiss German, Flemish, Greek, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and French)
Business Analyst
Quality Analyst
Quality Assurance Specialist/Auditor
Customer Service Manager/Team Lead

Academics and Researchers

Doctoral Graduates (Acquired Abroad)
Research in any of the following areas;
Galaxy Formation and Evolution
Galaxy Structure and Dynamics
Pulsars and Black Holes
Pulsars and Black Holes
Pulsars and Gravitational Waves
Deep Observations of the earliest Radio Galaxies
Dynamic and Transient Burst
VLBI Operations
Search for CO to investigate role of Molecular Hydrogen
Deep Surveyors of Neutral Hydrogen Gas in the Early Universe
Cosmology and Dark Energy
Cosmic Magnetism
Calibration and Imaging of Radio Interferometer data
Pulsar Research
Pulsar and Gravitational Waves
VLBI Operations
Signal Processing
Observational Radio Astronomy in General
Algorithm for Radio Astronomy
Signal Processing for Radio Astronomy
Supercomputing for Radio Astronomy
Software Development for Radio Astronomy
Data and Streaming- Real-Time Processing of Massive Data Amounts
Green Computing- Extreme Performance at Minor Energy Cost
Performance at Minor Energy Costs
EMC and Spectrum Management
Beam Modelling
Antenna Modelling
Feeds for Radio Astronomy Systems
Receivers for Radio Astronomy Systems
Signal Processing for Radio Astronomy
High Speed Data Transport
Nano-photonics-Data Transport Power
Reduction over Short and Long Distances
Antenna Design
Antenna Foundation Design
RFI Shielded Buildings and Facilities
Advanced Manufacturing
Space Science and Technology
Global Change
Energy Security
Information Communication Technology
Earth Observation
Natural and Applied Sciences

Download the government gazette here –>
New Critical Skills Visa List of Shortage Occupations for South Africa

What you would need.

Published in the Government Gazette on 22 May 2014 the following regulations apply:

An application for a Critical Skills Work Visa has to be accompanied by proof that the applicant falls within the critical skills category in the form of:

(a) A confirmation, in writing, from the professional body, council or board recognised by the South African Qualifications Association (SAQA), in terms of Section 13(1)(i) of the National Qualifications Framework Act, or any relevant government department confirming the skills or qualifications of the applicant and appropriate post qualification experience.

(b) If required by law, proof of application for a certificate of registration with the professional body, council or board recognised by SAQA in terms of Section 13(1)(i) of the National Qualifications Framework Act.



Global Love and the South African Visa Conditions

Global Love and the South African Visa Conditions

17 June 2014, 09:13


Anybody who doesn’t see the problem with the new South African immigration laws has never considered the possibility of online relationships.
I’m referring specifically to this story ( and the following quote: “For example, people would enter SA on a visitor’s visa and quickly find a willing South African to be their “life partner”, thereby qualifying for a type of Relative’s Permit (permits now referred to as visas, with the exception of the Permanent Residence Permit).”
All around the world, foreign couples can generally only get together when they’re allowed to marry, because it is only through marriage that the impossibly onerous employment restrictions are lifted for the foreign spouse. Absorbing the costs of relocation and one spouse completely giving up their life abroad can only be absorbed if both are allowed to work to support themselves once together, and the only path to that (a trial by fire) is marriage.
The new immigration law is CRAZY, because it requires a couple looking to get married and wanting to live together in South Africa to rather get married overseas (in the foreign spouse’s home country) so that they can easily apply for the South African temporary residence permit and then join their spouse in South Africa. If the couple rather tries to marry in South Africa (with the foreign fiance arriving on a visitor’s visa) they have to then send the newly-married foreign spouse back to their home country to apply for the change of visa from outside South Africa.
This law doesn’t protect South Africans, it HARMS South Africans. Every South African who wants to marry a foreigner will either have to travel outside of their home country and be isolated from all their friends and family (who will not be able to join them overseas), or will have to endure the huge financial expense and emotional pain of having to be separated from their new husband/wife (when other couples are enjoying a honeymoon) as they are stranded in their home country to apply and wait for an indefinite period for a visa.
Is prohibiting the exploitation of the system by thousands of people worth the emotional and financial hardships to hundreds of South Africans who’re genuinely in love with foreign partners and stripped away from them? What about where these regulations make it so onerous (for example on younger couples without the resources to afford multiple trips overseas – especially where the foreign partner doesn’t even live in their ‘home’ country anymore) that these relationships are effectively aborted by the State?
My heart goes out to young couples on other sides of the world with a dream and love, who now have this additional wedge driven between them.
Maybe an alternative would be for South Africa to introduce a visa category that the UK has: the fiance visa. When I last researched that you could enter the UK on this (but not work), marry within a fixed short period, and then convert your visa (without having to leave) to the equivalent of the temporary residence visa (with working privileges). Just figure out some way for young couples who’re in love to prove their love and their intention to marry, and then give them a path to that which doesn’t entail them being split up.
These immigration laws aren’t in my name, and don’t represent the South Africa I want as a citizen of this country.


A tsunami of incomers

A tsunami of incomers

Jun 16 2014 – Mandi Smallhorne  –


ON A visit to the UK some years ago, my husband and I got into conversation with a couple about immigrants.

As far as Harold and Betty were concerned, ‘aliens’ were the scum of the earth who came to Britain to suck on the social welfare teat.

As far as we were concerned, illegal immigrants were probably quite brave and motivated people with enough chutzpah to make their way across continents and seas to a place that promised better opportunities. When they got to the UK, they’d be lucky to end up in the informal economy, doing the jobs that the British no longer want to do (an underworld glimpsed in the 2002 film Dirty Pretty Things).

However, quite a few of them negotiate their way up the ladder and become small business people or contribute to the economy in other ways.

“…locking out immigrants would fundamentally undermine the competitiveness of developed economies. Immigrants are a self-selecting group: they’re the risk takers, the ones who are ready to make a massive sacrifice,” said Ian Goldin, director of the Oxford Martin School and a professor of globalisation and development at the University of Oxford, when interviewed about migrants a couple of years ago by Time.

“It takes a lot of bravery to become an outsider, which makes migrants a great source of dynamism. If you look at the US, more than half the start-ups in Silicon Valley are founded by migrants, as well as many of the most iconic firms – Apple, Google, Yahoo, PayPal.

“Migrants account for more than three times as many Nobel laureates and Academy Award film directors as native-born Americans.”

In fact, the Office of Budget Responsibility said last year that the UK needs a steady flow of immigrants to keep its deficit from soaring sky-high – immigrants are usually young enough to pay tax for decades and as they are of working age, they need less spent on them in terms of education, health and the like.

And a University College of London study (done by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration) showed that between 1995 and 2011, immigrants actually contributed £8.8bn more than they received from the state in benefits.

We didn’t have these facts at our fingertips to make the case to Harold and Betty. Instead, we suggested that the solution to immigration lay not in standing at the shore, like King Canute, flapping your hands and yelling: “Stop! Stop! Go home now!”

Rather it lay in working to make staying at home more acceptable. After all, most illegal immigrants don’t just get up one day and start walking, muttering: “I must go to the UK!” They leave because they have to, they are impelled to, by dying economies or war or oppression or natural disasters.

They leave behind families, familiar terrain, culture and language. Many of them would surely prefer to stay – if life was more liveable. Which provides one very cogent reason for stronger economies to engage with weaker ones – to keep the flow nice and steady, and avoid it becoming an unmanageable flood.

And surely, I thought as I noticed another new informal settlement alongside the N14, the same thing applies to internal migration. Gauteng has a population of around 12.5 million, up from about 7.5 million in the 1996 census – and Census 2011 showed that almost half the people living in Gauteng were not born here.

They came for economic opportunities, for a better education, for a better lifestyle and better services like health. Streams of people have also flowed to the Western Cape and to Durban – the Western Cape, for example, grew from close on 4 million to 5.9 million.

These three centres may lead the economy, with Gauteng way ahead at over a third of GDP (36%, to be precise, and that on only 1.4% of the land), but none of them has the resources to cope with a never-ending tsunami of incomers.

Result: a win for everyone

A partial solution may be for civil society in our provinces to take an active interest in uplifting the regions from which the migrants come, in the interests of preserving our own resources and infrastructure.

Yes, I know that Gauteng, for one, already contributes huge amounts to the fiscus which get doled out to less wealthy provinces. But that’s a passive mechanism.

I’m thinking more along the lines of using our energy, drive, smarts and social responsibility budgets to make targeted interventions (perhaps through NGOs that know rural and small town South Africa well) to support schooling, health provision, market gardening, the establishment of relevant small businesses, communications and IT, and transport.

Here’s an example: if ten rural people in neighbouring villages are helped to start vegetable gardens, linked by good communications, tied in to the markets by IT, and provided with, say, one truck for the ten, they can negotiate market-related prices for their surplus veggies, make a sale, and distribute their produce.

If you are growing food to eat and earning an additional R1 500 a month to supplement the family income, if your children are attending a decent school and can get medical care when they need it, you are far less likely to uproot yourself, disrupt your family life and move to a city shack, aren’t you?

The result would be a win for everyone.

– Fin24

*Mandi Smallhorne is a versatile journalist and editor. Views expressed are her own


Long weekend used to effect repairs to department’s computer systems

Jun 16 2014 The New Age

Long weekend used to effect repairs to department’s computer systems
Home Affairs department officials worked around the clock at the weekend after its computer system experienced technical problems affecting the normal services of the department.

The department’s problems were a result of upgrades at the head offices in Pretoria, which affected provincial branches.

KZN acting provincial manager Nosipho Shandu said, “The problems occurred as we are upgrading our system to cope with the high demand of services people need, not to mention that we are in the process of opening other branches countrywide.

“We chose to work this (long) weekend as the system needs four full days offline so as to not harm the repair process.”

The services most affected were applications for smartcards and passports. Services such as the issuing of the marriage certificates, immigration services as well as birth registration were not affected

The system is expected to be up and fully functional by tomorrow.

“Another aspect making things more difficult is that as we are in the process of introducing smart cards, we are still busy issuing green ID books,” Shandu said.

The department has incorporated manual processes to alleviate the pressure on the system.

“This has not had a major impact on the department as far as services are concerned.”


Home Affairs encourages parents to get unabridged birth certificates for children

Home Affairs encourages parents to get unabridged birth certificates for children

Details Published: 12 June 2014

12 June 2014

The Department of Home Affairs has encouraged parents and guardians to apply at any of their nearest home affairs offices for unabridged birth certificates for their children even if they do not have plans to travel abroad in the near future as this is a legal requirement.

Earlier in the week the department announced a grace period until the end of September 2014 for parents and guardians to travel with children without producing an unabridged birth certificate as required by the new immigration regulations that came into operation on 26 May 2014 with the Immigration Amendment Acts of 2007 and 2011.

As of 1 October 2014, when 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. Provision is also made for one parent travelling with a child and where one parent or both parents are deceased or the child is travelling with a relative or another person. Other requirements are listed below and detailed in the Immigration Regulations, 2014.

Certified copies of unabridged birth certificates and parental consent where applicable will be acceptable when travelling with children. This Regulation applies to minor children under the age of 18 years.

The Department started issuing unabridged birth certificates for newborn babies from 4 March 2013, on the spot, at no cost.This followed the department’s review of the Birth and Death Act (1992) and the Citizenship Act (1995) which culminated in the South African Citizenship Amendment Act 2010.

The unabridged birth certificate is more secure and reliable with added information as it contains particulars of both parents, where possible, and their ID numbers and therefore supports the drive to secure the National Population Register so that all people in the country are and feel safe.

For children born before March 2013, parents need to apply for unabridged birth certificates to replace the old abridged birth certificate that contained only the name and ID number of the newborn baby and the mother and was easy to reproduce illegally. For this category the application fee is R75 and the process takes about 6 weeks.

The application can be made at any home affairs office, by the parent(s)/guardian, who should take along their identity documents and the child’s abridged certificate.

These changes will also promote the department’s main function of issuing secure, credible and accurate birth certificates as well as identity documents to all our people.

Enquiries: David Hlabane, 071 527 9463 and Thabo Mokgola, 071 712 9710.


Background: Immigration Regulation 6 (12)

(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 bot 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


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.

Issued by Department of Home Affairs on 12 June 2014


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.”