South Africa visa changes in bid to attract talent

A pilot e-visa scheme is being tested in South Africa with the aim of attracting skilled workers and investors.

South Africa visa changes in bid to attract talent
South Africa is to embark on a pilot scheme this month to test the efficacy of a new e-visa scheme aimed at attracting more investors and people with skills that are critical to building the economy.In an interview with BusinessTech, Siya Qoza from the Department of Home Affairs says that, initially, the pilot scheme will be relatively limited and aimed at assessing the resilience of the new system.“The pilot will be conducted with Kenya first at the OR Tambo and Lanseria airports,” he explains. “At the end of the month, we will evaluate the project and look at which other countries to expand the e-visa system to.”Mr Qoza adds that the system is quick and simple, and had been designed to be as user-friendly as possible. He estimates the entire application process will take around 20 minutes, provided the applicant has all of the necessary supporting documents.

Shorter wait for critical work visas

Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi says that his department is also lowering turnaround times for critical work skills visas, which are now issued within four weeks in 88.5 per cent of applications. In future, business and general work visas will be issued within eight weeks in virtually all cases, he says.
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“The department has also located visa services within the offices of various investment facilitation agencies around the country. In addition, visa requirements have been simplified for countries such as China and India, which are key markets for tourism to South Africa," Mr Motsoaledi adds.

Expanding visa arrangments to the UAE and New Zealand

South Africa recently waived visas for travellers from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, New Zealand, Cuba, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.While countries such as Qatar and Ghana already have visa-free or visa-on-arrival agreements with South Africa, it would be considered a serious boon if South Africans could travel visa-free to countries such as the UAE and New Zealand.The Department of Home Affairs says it is currently in talks with these countries on two main issues. “We have entered negotiations with these countries with the first priority being an implementation date for visa-free access to South Africa,” says a spokesman. "Once this has been confirmed, our second priority is reciprocity.”

For more news and features, visit our dedicated Africa section. 

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