Immigration regulations protecting children - dept

2015-06-24 20:40

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Johannesburg - The new immigration regulations regarding the movement of children in and out of South Africa are intended to protect them, and not promoting tourism by any means possible, the home affairs department said on Wednesday. 

"The steps we have taken to improve how we regulate the movement of children are intended also to give effect to the Children’s Act, 2005 which sets out principles relating to the care and protection of children," director general Mkuseli Apleni said in a statement.

"Among other things, the Children’s Act demands specifically the protection of children from abduction as it prohibits this horrendous act. Our concern has always been on promoting national security, which has a far-reaching impact on tourism as well. This I must reiterate: Our policy has never been tourism by any means possible."

The statement was released to accompany the publication of arrival pattern statistics for the period June 1 to June 22, 2013, 2014 and this year. 

The statistics indicated all traveller arrivals and departures, all traveller arrivals, all minor departures and arrivals, and minor arrivals.

"We would have preferred to present this update particularly dealing with statistics arising from implementation, at the end of the month," Apleni said.

"However, given the volume of reports and speculation in the public discourse, we thought it prudent to convene this briefing. This session should therefore assist in clarifying some of the issues raised."

Apleni said some reports had stated that changes to South Africa's immigration legislation came into operation on June 1 this year, which he said needed to be corrected.

"The Immigration Amendment Acts, 2007 and 2011 and the Immigration Regulations, 2014 came into operation on 26 May 2014. This was meant to manage immigration in a manner that balances South Africa’s openness to travellers with development and security imperatives," he said.

"Only those specific requirements for travelling with children through our ports of entry took effect on 1 June 2015."

Total arrivals and departures for the period in 2015 were 1 632 459 people, 22 539 less people than 2014 and 30 108 less people than 2013.

Of that total in 2015, 556 645 people were South Africans, 361 422 were Zimbabweans , 333 812 were from Lesotho, and 216 725 from Mozambique.

Americans were the next highest at 48 647, followed by 40 152 British citizens, 15 980 Indians, 15 600 Germans, 9 344 Chinese and 9 981 French citizens.

The total arrival and departures of Amercans (-2150), British (-975), Indians (-1702), Germans (-1614), Chinese (-1744), and French (-168) all dropped.

When arrivals for non-African countries are broken down for the same period in 2014, a total of 25 079 Americans, 19 215 British, 7 713 Indians, 6 703 Germans, 4 552 Chinese, and 4 848 French citizens arrived in South Africa.

In 2015, American (-1023), British (-630), Indian (-1000), German (-988), and Chinese (-1052) arrivals all dropped, while French arrivals (9) increased slightly.

For arrivals and departures of minors, the combined total of the 16 countries contained in the statistics saw a drop from 89 614 in 2013, to 78 224 in 2014, to 57 382 in 2015 for the period.

When broken down further to just arrivals, in 2014, 16 072 minors from South Africa arrived back into the country. A total of 10 092 were from Lesotho, 5044 from Zimbabwe, 3716 from Mozambique, 2605 from the United States, 864 from the United Kingdom, 817 from India, 329 from Germany, and 287 from France.

The same period in 2015 saw a drop in numbers. Minor arrivals from South Africa (-4858), Lesotho (-5023), Zimbabwe (-62), Mozambique (-1403), the United States (-79), the United Kingdom (-66), India (-164), Germany (-156), and France (-68) all decreased, according to the released statistics.

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