In what has been described as a radical departure from the new existing manual application process VFS Global, a worldwide outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments, has been appointed to receive and manage visa and permit applications in South Africa.
SAnews.gov.za reports Gigaba said VFS Global has been given the mandate to automate the application processes, develop a solution for biometric intake in line with the immigration regulations, manage a dedicated permitting call centres and deliver outcomes to clients efficiently and timely.
The new visa application system is also expected to reduce corruption as applicants are required to apply online, set up appointments and visit the visa facilitation centres for biometric intake.
VFS Global will be establishing 11 visa facilitation centres in all provinces:
- KwaZulu-Natal, in Durban
- Limpopo in Polokwane
- Mpumalanga in Nelspruit
- Western Cape in George and in Cape Town
- Free State in Bloemfontein
- Northern Cape in Kimberley
- Gauteng in Johannesburg and Pretoria
- Eastern Cape in Port Elizabeth.
Pretoria (Gauteng), Rustenburg (North West) and Kimberley (Northern Cape) centres were the first to open on Monday, 2 June, with the all offices expected to be operational by 23 June.
While VFS Global is the facilitator of the visa applications Gigaba maintained that the decision to either approve or reject applications will still lie with the department, "to ensure that our national interests and security imperatives are served at all times".
The minister also said that the current measures being introduced in the country add impetus to similar ones the department made in high volume missions such as Nigeria, China, Ghana, DRC, Angola and Kenya.