Foreign students‚ businessmen and frequent visitors are among those who will benefit from new immigration rules. The department of home affairs 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.
Visitors from India and China, highlighted by Ramaphosa as important investment growth areas, will have travel regulations relaxed from next month, including allowing applications for 5-year multiple entry visas. This arrangement is meant to attract business people and prospective investors.
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.
Gigaba said negotiations were also being finalized to conclude visa waiver agreements with more than a dozen countries across Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Qatar and the UAE to boost investment.
Much-criticised rules on traveling minors will also be simplified. 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. 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. Gigaba said the changes would be implemented in time for the festive season‚ when many people would be travelling with children.
If you’re looking for additional information or help with securing your visa for South Africa, make sure you get in touch with one of our immigration consultants today!