New visa rules: Hanekom steps in

2014-06-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom will meet to discuss the impact of the new immigration regulations on the tourism industry.

Hanekom said in a statement on Wednesday the revised immigration regulations “may have possible unintended consequences for the tourism industry” after tourism stakeholders had highlighted the consequences to the department.

“Industry role players highlighted two specific provisions — the requirement for an unabridged birth certificate for minors, and the provision for in-person collection of biometric data.”

It was believed that the measures might impact the country’s competitiveness.

“Countries are attempting to ease visa requirements to promote tourism.”

Hanekom said the regulations were revised with good intentions but the unintended negative consequences should be taken seriously. “Any matter that could have a detrimental impact on international tourist arrivals to South Africa is a concern.”

He said the department would carefully consider any negative impact of well-intentioned measures on international tourist arrivals.

Statistics South African shows tourism employs 600 000 people nationwide and adds R90 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP).

Meanwhile, immigration practitioners marched on Gigaba’s Home Affairs Department in Harrison Street, Johannesburg, on Wednesday, saying they want to sue the department for loss of income.

They say an amendment to the Immigration Act, which was signed into law on June 2, had removed section 46, which acknowledged the practitioners.

They said practitioners write exams at a cost of R3 000 to qualify to assist foreign nationals to apply for work, visiting, study, or business permits in South Africa by doing the administration, standing in queues, and collecting the documents at a fee.

Home Affairs office head Khehla Miya received the practitioners’ memo.

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