Cape Town Africa’s “Tech Capital” and “Africa’s No.1 City for Opportunities”

According to a report by pwc, Cape Town is Africa's number 1 city for opportunities and ranks within the top 30 globally. In addition, the Cape Innovation & Technology Initiative (CiTi), Wesgro, and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation commissioned a report which confirms Cape Town as "Africa's tech capital".

Cape Town remains attractive to those wanting to invest in Africa, develop industry and transfer skills, and with the possibility of a Critical Skills Work Visa for ICT professionals, your skills can contribute to the success of this world-class city. Get in touch for an assessment if you want to explore what Cape Town has to offer.

SA Citizenship by Naturalisation - 5 or 10 Years, Which One Is It?

The residence requirement for applicants wishing to take up South African citizenship by naturalization (for details on this matter please refer to previous newsletters) is still not being applied consistently.

After the Public Protector’s report was published in February, some Home Affairs offices (including Cape Town) started accepting applications after residence of 5 years. However, other offices (most in Gauteng and others) still apply the 10-year requirement.

Please contact our consultants for further information and advice on your specific situation. We advise our clients on a case by case basis, provide options, risks and timelines.

Easing Visa Processes for BRICS Countries, E-Visas

The requirement to present to South African missions in person when making applications is particularly onerous in large countries like China and India, where travel times are long and whose citizens are not visa exempt, i.e. they have to apply for a visa even just to visit South Africa.

Therefore, Home Affairs is planning to allow for certain visa applications to be made via courier (as it used to be the case) and for the presentation for fingerprints to happen on arrival in South Africa. Also, multiple-entry visas for 3, 5 or 10 years for trusted travelers are already in place or in the planning. Countries to benefit from this include China, India, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda.

So-called e-Visas have been announced for some time and are now to be piloted in New Zealand by April 2019. Statements have not been entirely clear, but it appears that these will be available for visitors’ visas only. The announcement of earlier this year to recognize international visas issued for Schengen countries, the US, UK, Canada and Australia was not repeated most recently.

Over the course of 2018, numerous announcements of measures and changes have been made, which were not always consistent or aligned. It is therefore difficult to predict in what form and when exactly one will see any of these changes. They all have the potential for real impact, but this remains to be seen.

Critical Skills Visa – Apply Now! New List Expected to be Published in April 2019

In an effort to retain critical skills in the country, Home Affairs has been allowing local university graduates in critical skills fields to apply for work visas and permanent residence even if they have no relevant work experience. Permanent residence applications in this category are still being processed extremely fast at the moment (6 months on average).

The complete overhaul of the critical skills list, which was originally announced for the end of 2018, is now expected in April 2019. It will be informed by the latest list of occupations in high demand, issued by the Minister of Higher Education and Training (published in May) and may well include significant changes.

Speak to our consultants now to see if you qualify under the current list. If you already have a critical skills visa, apply for permanent residence before the changes come into effect.

Traveling With Minors - No Real Relief Yet

Step by very little step, Minister Gigaba is retracting the onerous document requirements for traveling minors. In July, the need for an unabridged birth certificate (“UBC”) was abolished for those children whose passports contained their parents details. This is the case, for instance, with all new passports that Home Affairs issues to South African children.

Further changes were announced by Gigaba last week, but will only be implemented once the relevant international travel advisory has been issued, which is expected by the end of October 2018. The following will change:

  • Carrying the UBC and parental consent by non-travelling parents will be a “strong recommendation” rather than an obligation.
  • The documents will only be required in exceptional, “high risk”, situations. In case they are not presented on demand, travellers will be given an opportunity to provide them instead of being denied entry.
  • NOTE: this applies only to non-South African children, whilst South African children still need to provide the consent affidavits.

The Minister’s announcement has created more confusion than clarity. Where does a “strong recommendation” leave travelers who are planning their trips? What exactly will be seen as “high risk”? Will the interpretation include scenarios where parent(s) and child(ren) do not carry the same surnames or have different appearances, where they come from certain (profiled) countries or look a particular way? Until these criteria have been clarified, or at least tested in practise, we recommend that you carry the full set of documents if at all possible, to avoid delays and complications. Thus, no major changes just yet.

Sadly also, although the changes may be implemented before holiday makers travel across our borders, this will not be in time for the planning of their travels. With the uncertainty prevailing, tourists will likely have booked a holiday destination with more predictable travel procedures.