THE CHANGES to immigration rules are part of a broader economic turnaround programme announced by President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa last week.
Today, the minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba announced, in a move to increase economic opportunities, a relaxed visa regulations.
This means foreign students‚ businessmen and frequent visitors are among those who will benefit from new immigration rules but according to Gigaba, this does not mean there will be free for all.
The move includes a three-year‚ multiple-entry visa for frequent trusted travellers to South Africa and a 10-year visa for business people and academics from Africa.
“Business people from BRICS countries Brazil‚ Russia‚ India‚ China and South Africa who require visas‚ like China and India‚ are issued a ten-year‚ multiple-entry visa within five days of application. This arrangement is meant to attract business people and prospective investors‚” said the minister.
“The key changes will be that‚ rather than requiring all foreign national travelling minors to carry documentation proving parental consent for the travelling minor to travel‚ we will rather strongly recommend that travellers carry this documentation‚” Gigaba said.
“Our immigration officials will only insist on documentation by exception – in high-risk situations – rather than for all travellers‚ in line with practice by several other countries. Rather than denying entry where documentation is absent‚ travellers will be given an opportunity to prove parental consent. South African minors will still be required to prove parental consent when leaving our borders.”
During his Stimulus Economic Package, Pres Ramaphosa indicated the relaxation of visa and Immigration rules were part of a broader economic turnaround programme, following the ‘technical recession’ SA faces.
Travel reforms also include amendments to regulations applying to foreign minors travelling to South Africa.
The move will be effected during the festive holidays when many will be traveling with children
Tough Immigration rules and visa applications was so controversial that it affected the economy and saw tourism numbers dwindling, three years ago.
Andrew Dipela, Limpopo Tourism board chairperson had not responded for a comment at the time of publishing.