What is the change? The Department of Home Affairs has outlined its policy priorities for the coming year in a budget speech last week.

What does the change mean? The department expects to roll out the following agenda items in the coming months:

  • E-visas. E-visas will be introduced for companies sponsoring employees with critical skills, as well as for tourist visitors. Applicants will be able to apply online and receive an emailed copy of their visas before traveling to South Africa. Testing has already begun at Lanseria Airport and is expected to conclude in October, and e-visas will be phased in incrementally thereafter.
  • Visa waivers. South Africa will extend its visa-free regime to nationals of the following seven countries: Cuba, Ghana, New Zealand, Qatar, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The visa waivers are expected to be implemented in November without first requiring reciprocity by the designated countries. Additionally, the department will study how to ease visas for nationals of China, India and Nigeria, but will begin this year by doubling the number of staff who process visas for Nigerian nationals and increasing by 2.5 times the staff who process visas for Chinese and Indian nationals.
  • Border Management Authority. The department will continue to pursue a 2013 plan to streamline border controls under one Border Management Authority by implementing a system of One-Stop Border Posts starting with the redevelopment of six land ports of entry and expanding to land, air and sea ports of entry.
  • Smart IDs. The department plans to accelerate the switch to Smart IDs by opening additional offices equipped to process and issue the biometric identity cards.

Analysis & Comments: The budget signals the government’s intention to continue to implement visa reforms, expand visa waivers and ease processing to attract tourism, business and investment and high-skilled foreign workers.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.