South Africa under fire over immigration rules
Everyone knows visiting another country can be a bit of a nightmare when it comes to navigating the immigration rules, but the requirements set out by the government of South Africa have escalated things to a whole new level.
New laws that were brought into effect last month (May 26th) have been denounced not just by tourists but also key figures in the industry.
Chief executive for Cape Town Tourism Enver Duminy was among those who spoke out, claiming the regulations “pose a serious threat to tourism growth. Whilst many countries are doing their utmost to make travel user-friendly, we are building barriers.”
Elsewhere, Global Migration South Africa declared the new procedures could risk up to 1,600 local jobs and cripple SAR1 billion (£55 million) worth of investment.
So what are these new rules that have shocked the tourism industry? Firstly, parents travelling with children are expected to produce an unabridged birth certificate for travel. As this isn’t the standard document, parents must wait up to three months while they apply for it.
Visitors from India and China will have to supply biometric information including fingerprints if they want to secure a visa, something that could prove difficult for many travellers as the countries have just four biometric stations between them.
Rob Kucera, FEDHASA Cape’s newly elected chairperson, commented: “We are concerned that we were not taken into confidence before the amendments were drafted and later approved.
“Consequently, this will have a negative business impact on tourism, which currently contributes more than R93 billion to the country’s GDP and over 610,000 direct jobs.”
The concerns highlight the potential difficulty travellers may experience in requesting a visa to visit certain countries, and holidaymakers are advised to thoroughly check the requirements before they fly so that they aren’t met with a nasty shock at the other end.