Home Affairs sets up team to look at visa regulation implementation

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The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has announced that it will set up a task team to look at the implementation of new visa regulations.

This is according to Home Affairs minister Malusi Gigaba, who made the announcement at a media briefing today after meeting with industry associations including the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Tourism and Business Council of South Africa.

Under new regulations (part of the Immigration Amendment Act) that were supposed to take effect from May, but now postponed to October 1 after an outcry, people travelling to South Africa on a visa are required to apply for the visa in person. Parents travelling with children under the age of 18 are required to produce an unabridged birth certificate for each child. In the case where only one parent is travelling with the child(ren), consent in the form of an affidavit from the other parent registered is required. Alternatively, either a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or a death certificate of the other parent must be produced.

Gigaba acknowledged that the department was aware of concerns raised by the industry and also acknowledged that there was a need to enable greater communication with industry stakeholders, Tourism Update reports.

An IATA spokesman said they support the new regulations that tackle the scourge of child trafficking and approve of efforts to stop unsavoury elements from coming into South Africa, but they were concerned about the practicality of the regulations and their implementation.

The minister’s new task group will look at international best practices, implementation and informing the public, as well as the effects on cross border transportation.

The IATA spokesman said the task team was a significant breakthrough that will map out the way forward.

Meanwhile, the DHA indicated the regulations are likely to be implemented in their current form on October 1 whilst the Department considers industry recommendations.