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DHA: New Zealand visa restriction unfortunate

The South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has described the decision New Zealand to enforce a visa restriction for South Africans, as unfortunate, “given the vast improvements to DHA systems over the years”.

DHA Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete says the department has noted the decision by the government of New Zealand to introduce visa requirements for all South Africans wishing to travel to that country from 21 November, 2016.

“The Department will consider a response and communicate once it has been concluded.”

Currently South Africans qualify for a visa on arrival, however starting 21 November, travellers will need to acquire a visa at NZ$165.00 (about R1 637.07) when applying before 21 November 2016. From 21 November, the cost for paper applications will increase to NZ$184. The cost for applying online will however remain unchanged at NZ$165.

Travellers wanting to apply for a visa are urged to allow for an estimated six-week processing time for visa applications.

When announcing the change in the visa regime, the New Zealand embassy cited the issue of increased number of individuals trying to enter the country with either “counterfeit or fraudulently obtained South African passports”.

“We are committed to creating an immigration system that actively welcomes and encourages legitimate visitors to New Zealand, but at the same time is able to prevent those who do not meet immigration requirements”, say Immigration New Zealand (INZ) General Manager Peter Elms.

For more information about the New Zealand visas for South Africans, click here

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.

IMC recommendations shows collective industry efforts have paid off and government has listened

JOHANNESBURG – The Association of Southern African Travel Agents (ASATA) welcomes the recommendations made today by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) instituting biometric visas on arrival for travellers from countries where there is no South Africa mission and amending the requirements around Unabridged Birth Certificates (UBCs) for inbound travellers under the age of 18 years.

The IMC was appointed in August 2015 to assess the “unintended consequences” that have arisen as a result of the implementation of new Immigration Regulations by the Department of Home Affairs, but no engagement with the travel community has taken place as part of their discussions, which are aimed at finding a “rational and implementable” method of bringing about a balance that does not sacrifice South Africa’s security, but that also deals with the “negative economic impact” that has arisen as a result.

Tourism arrival statistics from most of South Africa’s key source markets have reported significant declines since the new Immigration Regulations came into effect, with losses estimated to the South African economy estimated to be over R7.5bn.

While the IMC’s decision is very positive for the inbound tourism industry, South Africa’s outbound travel community will continue to be impacted by the requirement to present UBCs. “The decision shows that our relentless collective efforts have had a positive impact and that government has listened,” says Otto de Vries, CEO ASATA.

“It is disappointing however that travelling South African families will continue to be subjected to the UBC requirement even though it is clear that we are experiencing ongoing challenges with the timeous issuing of these.

“Child trafficking is a global issue and we do not believe in the effectiveness of this particular policy requirement to deliver on its intention to curb trafficking in South Africa.”

To read the full recommendations made by the IMC, click here: http://bit.ly/1kz7VTB