Progress on reducing the impact of the immigration regulations – Home Affairs

Home Affairs is continuing to roll out measures aimed at mitigating the unintended consequences that the Immigration Act has had on South Africa, said Malusi Gigaba, South African Home Affairs Minister addressing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs this week.

Highlighting progress already made in the past three months, Minister Gigaba said his department was considering using family advocates to make it easier for single parents to travel out of and into South Africa with children. This, he said, was to make it easier in situations where one parent had disappeared or was being uncooperative. Currently, parents are advised to seek a High Court interdict.

According to Minister Gigaba, over 4 400 minors were refused permission to leave or enter South Africa over the festive season, of which 2 753 were South African citizens.

Meanwhile, the Department has introduced measures to facilitate school groups by developing a standardised template for school principals to complete which is available as a download on DHA’s website. School principals are therefore now enabled to provide one affidavit confirming permission for South African children to travel on school tours, in lieu of having to provide individual parent consent forms.

The Parental Consent Affidavit (PCA) has also been extended from four to six months. An internal directive informing staff of this measure was issued on 18 December 2015.

passport stamps

SA to roll out immigration regulation concessions

South Africa will start to implement concessions surrounding the immigration regulations which have had serious “unintended” consequences for the country’s tourism and travel sectors.Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni confirmed this week that the concessions would be rolled out over the next three months, including:

  • South African passports will now include the names of both parents to eradicate the need for parents to carry birth certificates for children.
  • Sports bodies and schools may over the next three months write letters for minors to cross the South African borders.
  • Introduction of an Accredited Tourism Company Programme for China, India and Russia with the possible extension of this programme to other visa-requiring countries.
  • Implementation of biometrics collection starting with a pilot project at South Africa’s three main airports.
  • Increased visa facilitation centres in China, India, Zimbabwe and other countries.
  • Installation of pre-flight checks, including operational centres, at international airports.
  • Upgrading Advance Passenger Processing Systems and implementing a passenger name record to enhance risk assessment.

  

Update on Immigration Regulation debate

The Department of Home Affairs hosted a two-day colloquium to develop a new immigration paradigm. However, while the process may lead to changes in South Africa’s immigration regulations, this is not a certainty and any changes are still far off.  http://bit.ly/1gcGPQ4

Meanwhile, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, also met with child advocacy groups to discuss the requirement for unabridged birth certificates when traveling with children in relation to the implementation of the Immigration Regulations.http://bit.ly/1RTNY3e

For your convenience, here are the latest Home Affairs requirements: http://bit.ly/1Jd1HTi

A zipped MS Word doc with the suggested format for the parental consent form can be downloaded from here:http://bit.ly/1C5ftVC

Immigration Reg Debate Rages on …

The face of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba has become an all too familiar face of late as the furore around the immigration and visa regulations really begins to hot up.

This time, the Department of Home Affairs, which normally takes two months to hand over tourism and migration statistics to Statistics SA (which in turn takes about three months to interpret them), has managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat in a bid to counter the negative publicity questioning the logic of the recently introduced regulations.

The DHA astonishingly released the first three weeks of June tourist arrival statistics in a matter of a few days. At last! We’re dealing with some valid form of statistic, although in the DHA’s opinion the drop is “not as significant” as the tourism sector has “opportunistically” claimed and actually the economic decline and Ebola should also be examined as causes behind any downturn. http://bit.ly/1KcdQXr

Probe as visa law row hots up

The debacle over SA’s new stringent visa regulations has taken a turn, with Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom telling MPs on Wednesday that a survey would be used to assess the scale of the devastation to the tourism industry. http://bit.ly/1N5DlJV

 

Reaction to Immigration Regulations

ASATA refutes Cabinet’s assertion that immigration regs have had ‘unintended consequences’

ASATA has issued a joint press statement with the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) following the announcement yesterday that Cabinet would establish an inter-ministerial team to examine the ‘unintended consequences’ of the immigration regulations. http://bit.ly/1JZ0wam

Global travel agent associations slam SA’s new visa regs

The head of two of the world’s biggest travel and tour operator groupings on Tuesday slammed South Africa’s new visa regulations as a measure to scare off all families from travelling to South Africa. http://bit.ly/1L0GRXI

In the news… the UBC debacle

Home Affairs fails to enforce damaging regs

TNW has established that immigration officials are selectively enforcing the new regulations governing movement of minors across SA borders. http://bit.ly/1cyOlCn

Are SA’s visa rules too much?

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) notes with concern South Africa’s new immigration measures that were supposed to come into effect on Monday, including requiring adults travelling with children to carry unabridged birth certificates. http://t.co/NFTPiUhGm5

New visa rules won’t stop child trafficking

The director of the Centre for Child Law, Ann Skelton, fears South Africa’s new visa rules will drive child trafficking deeper underground. http://bit.ly/1Js3CBL

Air China Delays Introduction

Air China flights between Beijing and Johannesburg have been delayed indefinitely. The service was due to start later this month. However, the delay follows a Chinese government travel advisory issued due to the xenophobic violence, which has wracked South Africa. http://bit.ly/1M6KOqU

In case you missed it…

If you missed last weekend’s report in Carte Blanche featuring ASATA CEO Otto De Vriescommenting on the impact of the new Immigration Regulations. http://bit.ly/1G7SBEQ

Using a sledgehammer to kill a mosquito

Using a sledgehammer to kill a mosquito! That’s how Otto de Vries, CEO of ASATA describes the “insane” policies of Malusi Gigaba’s Department of Home Affairs bringing South African tourism to its knees. http://bit.ly/1KbcKeL

Get on the #nobirthcerts bandwagon

If you haven’t seen the hullabaloo around the ASATA campaign #nobirthcerts this week, you’ve probably been hiding under a rock.

150529_nobirthcerts_all

The outpouring of criticism against the Department of Home Affairs’ draconian immigration regulations that will have untold negative impacts on both the inbound tourism and outbound travel sectors has been enormous.

Media houses internationally have been reporting this week on the battle between the DHA and industry with claims from the former that the industry now feels it needs to debunk.

To that effect, ASATA and SATSA have co-hosted a press conference debunking 10 myths, which you can see by visiting this blogpost: http://satravelagents.co.za/?p=470

Hot off the press… Immigration Regs in the news…

Home affairs clarifies new travel regulations for children

Children who applied for unabridged birth certificates before June 1 would still be allowed to travel if they didn’t receive their documents in time, Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni told MPs on Tuesday morning.http://bit.ly/1FQ9aVz

17 Things you need to know about travelling with minors in SA

The notorious changes to the visa regulations for people travelling with under 18-year-olds is creeping closer, and whether travellers would like to hear it or not, these provisions have to be made if you’re planning on travelling legally with your children. http://bit.ly/1FXdrbR

South Africa: DA to Approach Tourism Complaints Officer On Visa Regulations

James Vos: I will today submit an official complaint to the Tourism Complaints Officer, Mirriam Setwaba, to investigate and address the Department of Home Affairs’ draconian visa regulations which are set to come into force on 1 June 2015. http://bit.ly/1eA2eSv

This is in response to the Parliamentary briefing this week by the Dept. of Home Affairs. View the briefing’s minutes:http://bit.ly/1QcVTId

Dept. denies ignoring tourism industry on new visa rules

The Home Affairs Department has strongly denied claims from the tourism industry that it’s been ignored during the implementation of new visa regulations and travel rules. http://bit.ly/1FiPINy

Unabridged birth certificate: Local travel industry ‘expecting chaos’

The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA), along with its industry counterparts at the Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) and Board of Airline Representatives South Africa (BARSA), have voiced their concerns about the negative impact the new visa rules will have on the industry as a whole. http://bit.ly/1G37OJ0

The latest Standard Operating Procedure from the Dept. of Home Affairs

150529_nobirthcerts

ASATA received yesterday the fifth version of the Department of Home Affairs Standard Operating Procedures. To download them, click here: http://bit.ly/1JYv62J