Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration dispatch – New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Tanzania

Discover key changes to immigration regulations in New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, and Tanzania.

Dar Es Salaam Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration dispatch

Featured Update 

Saudi Arabia – validity period for work and commercial visas lengthened

In welcomed news from Saudi Arabia, the validity period and authorised length of stays have been increased for most foreign nationals traveling to the Kingdom on Work Visit Visas and Commercial Visit Visas.The nationalities affected and changes implemented are as follows:
  • European Union and United Kingdom – Visit Visas will be issued with 180-day, 365-day, or 730-day validity periods ­– an increase from the previous 90-day validity period. The authorised length of stay has been increased from the previous 30-days to 90-days for the new 365-day and 730-day visas. The 180-day visa will continue to have a 30-day maximum stay
  • All other nations – Visit Visas will be issued with 180-day validity periods, an increase from the previous 30-day validity period. The authorised length of stay has been increased from the previous 30-days to 90-days 
  • United States – no changes have been made. Work Visit Visas and Commercial Visit Visas continue to be issued for 1825-day validity periods with authorised length of stays of 180-days.
The new longer Visit Visas come with significantly higher application fees. Therefore, foreign nationals planning work or business travel to Saudi Arabia should consult their immigration advisors regarding the higher costs prior to application. These new extended-length visas should make short-term work and business assignments more convenient for companies who in the past were required to have employees exit the country to apply for new visas when approaching the 90-day limit. The new visa rules are part of a move to attract more international business and trade to Saudi Arabia as part of the government’s Vision 2030 plan.

Immigration changes from around the world 

New Zealand – visas-on-arrival ended for South African nationals

South African nationals, who have in the past enjoyed visa-on-arrival to New Zealand, will now have to obtain visas prior to their trip. The New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has announced that it will no longer admit holders of South African passports by visa-on-entry. Starting 21 November, all South Africans arriving in New Zealand will be required to hold a valid visit visa obtained either online through the INZ website or by visiting the VFS New Zealand Visa Application Center in Pretoria.The move by the New Zealand authorities was prompted by a significant increase in recent years of the number of South African nationals who were refused entry into New Zealand because of altered or suspected fraudulent passports. The government of New Zealand had reportedly been considering suspending visa-on-arrival for South Africans since 2012. New Zealand now joins nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada, which require visas for South African citizens.

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Obviously disappointed by the decision, South African immigration experts speculate that many of the “altered or fraudulent” passports complained of are likely of the older form obtained prior to more stringent checks implemented into the South African system in recent years.They are hopeful that, as these older passports expire and are replaced, problems with South African passports may decrease and lead to a relaxing of the visa requirements once again.  According to a South African Home Affairs spokesman, they are continuing to dialogue with their New Zealand counterparts to try to come to an agreement, which might lift the restriction.While the move has understandably brought some degree of rift between immigration officials in the two nations, the practical impact on corporate immigration from South Africa to New Zealand should be minimal. South African nationals headed to New Zealand for work assignments already require work visas prior to arrival.However, those business travellers headed to New Zealand for business meetings and conferences, who previously relied on a visa-on-arrival, will have to plan ahead for obtaining a business visit visa.In most cases, the application process takes 20 to 25 days through the online system, but the INZ is advising applicants to submit applications six weeks prior to travel because of the expected higher volume. The online application fee is NZD 165, currently ZAR 1655 or USD 117. The South African passport was ranked 48th most powerful in the world for 2016 by Passport Index, a global ranking of passports by number of nations where its holders may enter visa-free. At that time, Passport Index reported 91 nations where holders of South African passports could travel without a visa or receive a visa-on-arrival. However, that ranking was down one spot from the previous year’s ranking when reportedly South Africans enjoyed visa-free access to 97 nations.

Tanzania – long-term resident foreign nationals must register by 2 November

Foreign nationals residing in Tanzania for more than six months must now register with the National Identification Authority (NIDA) for a photographic identification card, or face fines for failure to comply with the new requirement. Foreign nationals holding work permits and their dependents over the age of 18 have until 2 November to register. The registration of foreign nationals has been an on-going process since 15 September, with NIDA officials visiting the places of employment of foreign nationals to distribute registration forms and collect completed forms. While collecting completed forms, NIDA officials have also been taking the necessary photographs on-site to complete the process.NIDA is advising foreign nationals in Tanzania that, if one of their officials has not visited their place of employment by November 2 to complete the registration process, they should visit the closest NIDA district office from 8am to 4pm any business day to complete the registration.Applicants should bring with them their valid passports, work permits, residence permits, and proof of the deposit of the registration fee into the NIDA bank account. Applicants will be photographed for the identification card and are advised not to wear white, light blue, pink, or grey shirts. The registration fee, payable into NIDA’s account prior to the registration appointment, is USD 100 for investors, USD 50 for employees, and USD 20 for missionaries, researchers, students, and dependents. For foreign nationals entering Tanzania after 2 November, the registration and obtaining the identification card will be part of the Long-Term Work Permit application process.The NIDA national identification card project – designed to register and provide identification for both Tanzanian citizens and foreign nationals – has been the subject of much controversy in Tanzania over the last several years. Heated debates between high-ranking officials, over the adequacy of the system and expenditure of public funds, have led to the project being halted and restarted in the past and millions of defective cards recalled.Earlier this year, President John Magufuli removed the Director General of NIDA for suspected graft, called for an audit of the USD 82 million project, and initiated an on-going investigation into alleged corruption.

Reminders: Recent and Upcoming Immigration Implementations

The following are reminders of recent or upcoming implementation dates that you should know:
  • November 10, Canada: Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) becomes mandatory for visa-exempt foreign nationals (except US nationals) traveling to Canada. (see our Global Brief of October 3 for details)

For related news and features, visit our Immigration section.

Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreCaveat Lector | Warning to Reader This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change at a moment's notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Pro-Link GLOBAL's Counsel and Knowledge Management teams. We worked with our PLG | KGNM New Zealand Office “Lily Kok Immigration Services Ltd”, our PLG | KGNM Office “Proven”, and our PLG | KGNM Office Tanzania “Ishengoma, Karume, Masha & Magai Advocates” to provide you this update.Information contained in this Global Immigration Dispatch is prepared using information obtained from various media outlets, government publications and our KGNM immigration professionals. Written permission from the copyright owner and any other rights holders must be obtained for any reuse of any content posted or published by Pro-Link GLOBAL that extends beyond fair use or other statutory exemptions. Furthermore, responsibility for the determination of the copyright status and securing permission rests with those persons wishing to reuse the materials. Interested parties are welcome to contact the Knowledge Management Department (km@pro-linkglobal.com) with any additional requests for information or to request reproduction of this material.

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