SA to issue eVisas to visitors from China, India and Nigeria to attract skills

The president said work was underway with the relevant departments to improve SA’s visa and immigration regime as international travel starts to recover in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday evening that South Africa would undertake a full rollout of eVisas to visitors from China, India, Nigeria, Kenya and 10 other countries.

Ramaphosa said this was part of government’s Operation Vulindlela, which focuses on reforms to the country’s visa and immigration regime to attract skills and grow the tourism sector.

The president said work was underway with the relevant departments to improve SA’s visa and immigration regime as international travel starts to recover in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The revised list of critical skills will be published for public comment by the Department of Home Affairs within one week to ensure that the final version reflects the skills needed by the economy,” Ramaphosa said.

“The momentum that Operation Vulindlela has already built, and the support that it has received across government, shows that we are serious about reform. We will continue to work relentlessly and without pause to create a more modern, efficient and competitive economy that is more open to all South Africans.”

At the same time, Ramaphosa highlighted South Africa’s four overriding priorities of the year to fight Covid-19 and revive the local economy.

“First, we must defeat the coronavirus pandemic. Second, we must accelerate our economic recovery. Third, we must implement economic reforms to create sustainable jobs and drive inclusive growth. And finally, we must fight corruption and strengthen the state,” he said.

The president reiterated that the year ahead was a “time for change” as the country looked to overcoming the pandemic.

“It is this South African spirit that must drive our resolve to build a new and more equal economy and a better, more just society. The year ahead must be a time for change, for progress and for rebirth. It must be a year in which we rise.

“It must be a year in which we rise. This is no ordinary year, and this is no ordinary State of the Nation Address,” Ramaphosa said.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe, citizen.co.za