The Border Management Authority Bill of 2020 took effect this week, after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa signed it. The government says the bill will tighten border control to lessen illegal immigration and simplify control of ports of entry.

Key Points:

  • The law establishes the Border Management Authority as the sole department to manage the country’s ports of entry instead of current management by several agencies.
  • The law also provides term limits for office, conditions of service, functions and powers.
  • Establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Consultative Committee, Border Technical Committee and advisory committees for the review/appeal of decisions by officers.

Background: The legislation, which the South African parliament approved in March, reflects South Africa’s attempt to deal with illegal immigration.

Analysis & Comments: This legislation will not affect high-skilled immigration filings since these are done at consulates prior to travel. The impact on tourism and travel by air will be negligible since the international airports already operate at an international standard.  The land ports of entry will benefit from the focus this change will bring and it is hoped that the bottlenecks that are regularly experienced will be a thing of the past.

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