DA plans to intervene as new visa laws could be costing the South African economy billions
By Estelle Vosloo
The Board of Airline Representatives South Africa (BARSA) has expressed serious concern about the new South African immigration laws as it is said to cost the country billions is lost revenue and will add to the already huge burden of unemployment on the state coffers.
BARSA serves as a representative between the South African government and stake holders in the travel and tourism industry which includes airport operators, travel and tourism companies and other stakeholders in airline industry, with the aim of facilitating and further developing a safe, efficient and viable aviation industry in South Africa.
Making a statement to the Associated Press BARSA stated that, “Based on 2013 numbers, 536,000 foreign visitors could be denied travel and, conservatively, the lost income to South Africa from these high value visitors could be over R6.8b annually inevitably leading to job losses in the South African tourism sector.”
Yet The Department of Home Affairs insists that the new regulations are in the best interest of South Africa’s security and allows for efficient management of migration.
Many industry role players have expressed concern that the new visa and immigration rules imposed by the South African Department of Home Affairs are deterring foreign investment.
In a press release statement released last week DA MP Haniff Hoosen said in a statement:
“I will approach the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs and request that these regulations be reviewed and debated by the committee as soon as possible.
“Media reports and public outcry suggest that in less than a month the new regulations have already ripped apart families, dissuaded investors, and led to the suspension and even cancellation of multi-million rand film and tourism ventures.
“The regulations' various omissions and lack of definitions and criteria raise serious concerns and will be subject to misappropriation and abuse by the department and its officials.
“Furthermore, the full cost of these regulations to our local economy and country's reputation remain to be seen.
I will therefore also submit parliamentary questions to determine:
The cost structure surrounding these new regulations;
The list of skills eligible for the newly instituted Critical Skills work visa;
What according to the Department and its regulations is considered businesses in the 'national interest'; and
What the Department and its regulations consider "undesirable business" among other things.”
The DA’s statement went on to say that, “These regulations suggest that Home Affairs is trying to 'remedy' problems within the department such as its rampant permit backlogs and poor vetting by imposing autocratic legislation instead of addressing the department's internal disarray.
“The Minister's and his department's attempts to save face for these problematic regulations by citing 'national security' is entirely disingenuous and nothing more than scapegoating,” said the DA.
“The DA will not sit back while these regulations and the department continue to compromise our economy and kill jobs,” added Hoosen.