Immigration experts urged to assess impact of visa regulations

By Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities:

In line with National Tourism Month, the Red Tape Reduction Unit is calling on experts to assist in assessing the impact of the national visa regulations.

The unit, an initiative of the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism, launched the next phase of its Biz Challenge at the start of Tourism Month.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, called on immigration practitioners and experts in the sector to submit their comments on the regulations.

The Biz Challenge is a special programme which focuses on removing blockages facing businesses in the Western Cape’s most competitive sectors.

“We do recognise the need for border control measures but we believe that solutions in this space should take into account their effect on the broader economy. It is estimated that the regulations have already cost the provincial economy R384 million in the first quarter of this year.  Tourism is a large scale job creator, employing over 200 000 people in the Western Cape. Through Project Khulisa, we hope to add up to a further 100 000 jobs to the sector. We believe these regulations are standing in the way of us meeting our goal.

“We are calling on experts in the immigration sector to let us know your thoughts on the new immigration regulations. Tell us what works well, what’s not working and which processes are not clear. We want your suggestions on how we can make it easier for people to visit South Africa for business or leisure.”

Minister Winde said the comments will be workshopped by the Red Tape Reduction Team to identify suggestions for improvement.

“And then we start the real work – making sure that those ideas are put into practice.”

The Biz Challenge was launched in June. The first theme focused on reducing red tape in the licencing of events and permits application process. The Red Tape Reduction team are interrogating those comments and workable solutions will be compiled into a report which will be presented to stakeholders.

To participate in the BIZ Challenge, send comments to biz.challenge@westerncape.gov.za or post comments on: www.westerncape.gov.za/redtapereduction/biz-challenge

This theme is open for participation from 1 September to 30 September 2015