The Departments of Home Affairs and Tourism have this morning updated stakeholders on progress made on the implementation of concessions that the SA Cabinet had made last year to ease the implementation of the amended immigration legislation and regulations.
These concessions were announced to address the concerns raised by stakeholders, especially those in the tourism sector. Cabinet had appointed an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to look at the concerns and come up with recommendations on how best to proceed in the interest of all.
The Departments held a briefing session with key stakeholders in Sandton in December 2015 wherein the concessions were clarified, and timelines clearly outlined, to ensure there was no confusion on the process. It was at that session that concessions to be delivered within the first three months following Cabinet’s announcement were unpacked.
Today’s stakeholder engagement with some of the tourism sector players was therefore convened to update on progress and to look at the next set of concessions achievable within a year. Such was a frank and fruitful engagement with ideas shared on further enhancing implementation.
The general consensus is that we are indeed on course, with notable progress being made. The actions that were to be taken in the immediate phase, within the first three months that followed the Cabinet decision, (that is, from 1 November 2015 to 31 January 2016), were to,
- Implement the capturing of biometrics at ports of entry, starting with a pilot at OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town airports,
- Look at introducing an Accredited Tourism Company Programme for countries like China, India and Russia,
- Consider a long-term Multiple Entry Visa for a period exceeding 3 months and up to 3 years for frequent travellers (for business meetings), business people and academics,
- Ensure that principals issue letters confirming permission for children to travel on school tours,
- Extend the validity of the parental consent affidavit to 6 months.
With the support from partners, the Department of Home Affairs has delivered on all these concessions. This was within the recommended timeline, of three months.
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