Tag: passport

SA to get e-visas by March 2019

By Nic Andersen for The South African

Sick of all the paperwork every time you travel to South Africa? Well, e-visas could soon make things a whole lot easier.

The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that phase one of a rollout of electronic visas (e-visas) will begin on 31 March 2019.

While some of the final details are still up in the air, a parliamentary reply from Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba has revealed more about what travellers can expect.

What exactly is an e-visa?
While we’re sure some foreign nationals had hope regarding being free of paperwork, Gigaba says some will still be involved.

“E-visa introduces online capture of visa and permit applications and capturing of applicant’s biometrics in South Africa and abroad. An application will be captured and submitted online together with the required supporting documents that will be scanned and attached to the application. The applicant will then present himself/herself before a DHA Official for biometric enrollment and verification of the supporting documents.”

Following the verification of those documents, all the relevant forms are electronically routed to the Home Affairs head office in Pretoria for adjudication. For an approved visa/permit, a secure QR-Code is generated for print on the notification notice/letter sent to the applicant. This QR-Code contains the approved visa/permit detail and is maintained and managed by DHA at a “secure web-storage facility”.

That very same QR-Code will then be scanned upon arrival here in SA.

The e-visa rollout plan
Beginning with what the department is calling “Phase one, release one”, applications for temporary residence visas, adjudication of temporary residence visas and applications for waivers will be done through the new system.

The rollout of phase one of the e-visa system will be at a foreign mission, embassy or local Home Affairs office yet to be determined.

“This is to ensure system stability. Once table, more offices locally and abroad can then be gradually brought online,” Gigaba said

According to DA Shadow Minister of Tourism James Vos, these modern-day visas will have big positives for the tourism industry.

“Electronic visas will boost the tourism industry by cutting turnaround times for the issuing of travel documentation while ensuring the information of applicants is secure.”

“Most importantly, improved tourist arrivals will facilitate more job growth in the industry while guaranteeing job security for 1,4 million South Africans already working in the tourism industry.”

The new system could see tourists flocking to SA in larger numbers than before.

Government has unveiled plans to limit emigration by tracking those leaving SA for more than three months.

Despite working on building a more inclusive South Africa with opportunities for all, the government’s solution is to try and limit the number of South Africans leaving the country.

Sounds unbelievable? Well, it is.

On Sunday, Rapport reported that cabinet has approved a piece of legislation – don’t worry, it’s not law yet – that would allow the department of home affairs to put a trace on all South African citizens planning to leave the country for more than three months.

According to BusinessTech, the Department of Home Affairs’ White Paper on international migration would be used as a means of keeping tabs on folks outside of the country and to try and limit the number of people looking to leave.

The document also outlines the department of home affairs’ plans on how to deal with the massive influx of African immigrants looking for greener pastures in Mzansi, with the controversial ‘open borders policy’ forming the backbone of said strategy.

Since Jacob Zuma wrestled control of South Africa away from Thabo Mbeki we’ve seen an upswing in South Africans emigrating to the UK and Australia and, according to the paper approved by cabinet, emigration has been increasing by about 9% year-on-year, with more and more black professionals looking to leave.

Following Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle and the subsequent ratings downgrade, the number of South Africans enquiring about emigration options has surged significantly… no surprises there.

So what does government propose: limit those leaving and track the rest, instead of focusing on inclusive economic growth.

The white paper is, reportedly, the first of its kind put forward by the department of home affairs, aimed at preventing – or limiting — South Africans from emigrating.

By Ezra Claymore for www.thesouthafrican.com

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