Who stands to benefit? Vis-à-vis SA's new travel rules

25 September 2018 - 11:56 By Zimasa Matiwane
The department of home affairs has announced relaxed visa regulations for frequent trusted travellers to South Africa.
The department of home affairs has announced relaxed visa regulations for frequent trusted travellers to South Africa.
Image: iStock

Foreign students‚ businessmen and frequent visitors are among those who will benefit from SA's new immigration rules.

The department of home affairs on Tuesday announced relaxed visa regulations‚ aimed at boosting investment‚ tourism and academic exchange.

These include 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‚” home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba said.

Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba announced amendments to the visa regulations on September 25 2018. These amendments are in line with recommendations by the inter-ministerial committee on immigration regulations.

The changes to immigration rules are part of a broader economic turnaround programme announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last week as his team seeks to drag Africa’s most developed economy out of recession.

South Africa will also grant permanent residency or critical skills visas to foreign students who graduate at South African institutions of higher learning within critical skills categories. This move‚ according to Gigaba‚ will help the country retain critical skills in order to enhance economic development‚ growth‚ employment and transformation.

Travel reforms also include amendments to regulations applying to foreign minors travelling to South Africa

“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.”

Gigaba said the changes would be implemented in time for the festive season‚ when many people would be travelling with children.