New visa rules: Why are we building barriers?

2014-06-13 10:33

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - The new South African immigration and visa rules, instituted by the department of home affairs at the end of May, has been the cause for heated debate amongst major tourism bodies.

Cape Town Tourism has confirmed it is working in conjunction with the City of Cape Town, WESGRO, Southern African Tourism Services Association (SATSA), Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI), Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) and various representatives from and on behalf of the tourism industry to meet with national department of tourism to "understand the full impact of the new procedures, in order to evaluate the impact and assess the necessary reaction plan".

Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy says the new regulations “Pose a serious threat to tourism growth. Whilst many countries are doing their utmost to make travel user-friendly, we are building barriers. This does not bode well for our efforts to attract developing markets and it will certainly be a deterrent to those wanting to enjoy extended stays in Cape Town.”

Amongst the key issues affecting tourism are:

•    The fact that in-destination visitors can only apply for a visa extension under new grounds (with the exception of life-saving emergency treatment) from their country of origin, essentially meaning that visitors wishing to extend their stay will find it prohibitive to do so.

•    Parents travelling with children are expected to produce an unabridged birth certificate for travel – this is not the standard certificate supplied and must be applied for, a process that can take up to three months. A grace period has been introduced to phase in this procedure and now only takes effect in October.

•    Visas processed in India and China must now be biometrically created. Since there are only two active biometric stations, would-be travellers must first travel to the city where the biometric system is housed – this may be at a significant distance from the travellers place of origin.

CTT has consulted with several stakeholders from the industry and has found that youth travel, the habitual holidays of European “swallow” travellers, socially conscious tourism such as voluntourism, family holidays, and business and conferencing tourism are all under significant threat. The new procedures also complicate access for the film and entertainment industry.

Duminy said the process was not phased in consultatively, highlighting the disinformation and confusion currently at play within the sector.

"We will certainly do all we can to better understand the issues and repercussions of these changes, and we will represent the interests of our members and the industry.”

According to Global Migration South Africa, the new visa procedures could put R1 billion in investment and 1 600 local jobs at risk.

Rob Kucera, FEDHASA Cape’s newly elected Chairperson, adds; “FEDHASA Cape is deeply concerned by reports on the amendments to the Immigrations Act.
We are concerned that we were not taken into confidence before the amendments were drafted and later approved. Consequently, this will have a negative business impact on tourism, which currently contributes more than R93 billion to the country's GDP and over 610 000 direct jobs.”

Chris Whelan of Accelerate Cape Town concludes; “Migration policies must align with the economic realities and incentives of the main actors, i.e. the migrants themselves and their employer. To be at the forefront of this economy you need a world-class city and country that has a ready supply of intellectual capital.  Companies in the knowledge economy need easy access to this talent. Our visa regime clearly needs to reflect this reality.”

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel

 
/News

#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.