The Department of Home Affairs wants to attract more skilled visitors, business partners and investors to South Africa in order to grow the economy. As a result, on the 7th of October 2019, at the monthly Presidential Working Committee, Home Affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi mentioned that the turnaround time for critical skills work visas has been lowered to approximately 4 weeks. Business visas and general work visas take approximately 8 weeks to be processed and issued.

According to Dr Motsoaledi, in November 2019, the Department of Home Affairs will be piloting a scheme where e-visas can be applied for online, making it more accessible, simple and easy. One will also be able to apply within certain investment facilitation agencies. Furthermore, visa requirements for countries such as China and India have been simplified as they are seen as important tourist markets.

Countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Cuba, Qatar, Ghana, New Zealand and Sao Tome and Principe no longer need visas to visit South Africa. Home Affairs spokesperson Siya Qoza said that they are in talks with these countries to allow South Africans to visit their countries visa-free too. He added that they are looking to other countries to add to the list.

According to SA Tourism, this could have a seriously beneficial effect on South Africa’s economy. SA Tourism’s Bashni Muthaya cites an example of growth they tracked previously: “In 2017 when visas for Angola were waived to South Africa, we saw a 54% growth on the month the waiver became effective. This demonstrates the impact this will have on South Africa.”

Qoza further mentioned that the Department of Home Affairs may extend these talks to other countries. “We are consistently looking at which countries would be of a trade and tourism benefit to South Africa.” he said.

Dr Motsoaledi said that Home Affairs is playing its role in growing South Africa’s economy as well as facilitating job creation and securing the country’s borders. He points out that Home Affairs is constantly looking at ways to relax entrance requirements while not compromising the safety and security of South African citizens.

Fines will no longer be charged on overstaying. People who overstay for a prescribed number of times will be declared as undesirable. For further information please feel free to contact Visa Immigration SA.