Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, has welcomed the National Government’s announcement that it has introduced multiple-entry visas for BRICS business travellers.
In his forward thinking budget speech yesterday, Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, revealed a much more savvy approach to the management of our borders, including moving toward the use of technology in several areas.
In a major win for the South African economy, he stated that the ten-year multi-entry visa programme for businesspeople from the BRICS countries was well received, and that in collaboration with other departments, his officials were assessing extending it to other countries.
Minister Winde said: “This is a real breakthrough and a definite step in the right direction. I would encourage the extension of the visa to business travellers from Africa and other key source markets. Now more than ever, our economy needs investors and we must move to welcoming them with open arms. It should also be applied to leisure tourists from our strategic and emerging markets which have been hit hard by the new regulations promulgated last year.”
An independent research study found that the new visa regulations would cost the South African economy 21 000 jobs and R10 billion.
In August last year, Minister Winde submitted a formal petition to Parliament to suspend the immigration regulations.
“Minister Gigaba made no mention in his speech about pulling back the requirement for unabridged birth certificates for travelling minors, set to come into effect on 1 June, which was a big disappointment. I’m hoping that he will be as bold in reviewing this requirement as he has been in other areas.”
The Western Cape Government’s Red Tape Reduction Unit continues to work with foreign investors and the private sector to assess the impact of these laws and assist where applications are delayed.
“Our neighbouring countries are moving very fast towards visa-on-arrival. As a further analysis, we are currently comparing our regulations to those of our BRICS partners and our key trading partners in Africa such as Angola. We have to create an investor-friendly environment and to do so our laws must serve to enable growth and jobs, not act as deterrents,” said Minister Winde.