Visa regulations need further review: AfriForum

2014-09-18 09:06
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Johannesburg - AfriForum on Wednesday welcomed the delay in implementing two of the new immigration regulations on travelling minors, but it still wants an overall review.

The overall review would not only focus on human trafficking but also on the promotion of well-managed immigration and the interests of the tourism industry, spokeswoman Sue-Ann de Wet said in a statement.

AfriForum recognised that human trafficking was a serious problem, and with that being said, tourism was also an important industry in South Africa. It ensured income from foreign countries and created jobs.

"South Africa is a tourist attraction that faces many challenges such as crime, the fact that it is no longer as cheap to visit the country as it was in the past, and that it is situated far from other continents," De Wet said.

Also see: Delayed visa rules for travelling with minors widely welcomed 

"Thus, long expensive trips are required to visit the country. Therefore it must be made easy for the bona fide tourist to enter the country, but also for the local tourist to travel to foreign countries."

Where immigration was concerned, significant regulations were important.

"South Africa faces various shortcomings when it comes to skills, and if the tourist gets put off by unreasonable regulations, immigrants will too," she said.

"AfriForum suggests that all regulations be reviewed properly to accommodate all important roleplayers."

These included tourism operators, airlines, migration specialists and foreign affairs, who should be involved in the review by the home affairs department to find practical solutions.

Also see: New visa rules for travelling with children put on hold

"Currently, the department is not concerned with these roleplayers," said De Wet.

"AfriForum wants to work together as partners instead of frequently considering legal action and mobilisation."

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday announced that the implementation of two of the new immigration regulations on travelling minors would again be delayed, this time until June 1, 2015.

The new regulations include that parents travelling with a child had to have an unabridged birth certificate. The requirements become more onerous for single parents travelling with a child, or adults travelling with a child not their own.

The regulations had been due to take effect on July 1 but sparked widespread complaints. Parents protested it could take up to a year to obtain an unabridged birth certificate from home affairs.

The department then granted a three-month reprieve and set October 1 as the new implementation date.

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