“We are putting these regulations in place not to shut our doors but to streamline our international migration framework, to ensure that the processes that we have set up are facilitative towards investments and security,” Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba told CNBC Africa.
“We would want international investors and tourists to know that when you are in South Africa, you are safe.”
South Africa’s Immigration Regulations came into effect in May 2014. The laws are expected to affect the application for visas and permits, life partner and spousal visas as well as general work visas.
(WATCH VIDEO: New visa regulations for S.Africa)
“We view international migration as a programme to be managed. South Africa is a growing economy, one of the emerging markets. We’ve got the most modern economy in Africa and we are a welcoming country, in terms of investors and tourists. Therefore we would want to make their experience worthwhile,” Gigaba said.
“We would want to facilitate economic development whilst balancing national security interests because tourists and investors would want to be guaranteed that they are safe while in South Africa, in that South Africa’s management of the whole process of migration is effective and efficient.”
Gigaba indicated that the Department of Home Affairs is shifting the paradigm from being reactive to being proactive.
One of the ways it is expected to do this is through the advanced passenger processing system, which will enable the department to verify the biometric identities of those visiting South Africa.
In order to facilitate the movement of people into South Africa, the department will also establishing 11 visa facilitation centres in South Africa – two in Gauteng, two in the Western Cape and one in each of the country’s other provinces.
“The facilitation centres are going to take the responsibility away from Home Affairs in terms of receiving applications [and] filing them properly. They will send them to Home Affairs for adjudication, which would be an easier process,” Gigaba explained.
“We want to reduce the time spent on adjudicating applications for temporary visa’s or permanent permits so that people who are applying, especially business people, do not get frustrated by a protracted process that has no end.”
National security remains a key concern for the department however, Gigaba stressed that domestic security also forms part of that.
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The two crucial challenges regarding domestic security at the moment is the ownership of private security companies by foreigners and the employment of foreign nationals in those private security companies.
“You cannot have your private security companies owned by foreigners. You need to be in a position where you are certain about the security companies that operate in your country, especially because they have the right to have gun licenses. Unless you can manage that, you are not going to have the security of your country guaranteed,” he said.
“What the regulations do is impose an obligation on all companies offered a corporate visa to prove that in their total workforce, 60 per cent of their employees are South African or to prove that they intend doing so. In terms of addressing unemployment, we are well on course to doing that.”
Going forward, Gigaba stated that he has started to set himself an agenda as Minister of Home Affairs and that there are a number of objectives that he would like to achieve.
“One of those is the establishment of a border management agency, which has to be established by 2016. We need a big drive towards establishing an integrated border management agency for the department. The second is to improve the professionalism of our staff as well as their ethics and integrity,” he explained.
“The third is to ensure that we have competent leadership everywhere, from national right [down] to the most basic levels of the organisation. An organisation can have the best technology but with bad leadership, it will not be able to reach its objectives. The fourth objective is to modernise Home Affairs so that the entire process of applying for our documents in automated.”