Despite the Ramaphosa administration’s emphasis on immigration and inbound tourism, there has been an increase in the number of rejected visa applications by Home Affairs in 2018 – the first year of the incumbent’s presidency – over the previous year.
Immigration and inbound tourism, in general, have been areas of focus for the administration as laid out in the president’s second State of the Nation Address on June 20.
Then, Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated the need to build a “world-class visa regime” as well as give significant focus to key markets that have the potential of boosting tourism, such as “China, India and arrivals from the rest of our continent”.
China, India and African countries make up a substantial portion of the countries whose citizens have been denied visas by Home Affairs.
The president recently stated at a meeting of his newly formed economic advisory council that “an e-visa system will be piloted from next month. I was delighted to be shown a demonstration to see how it works. We have had situations where people have had to travel hundreds of kilometers to apply for a visa to visit South Africa. Now they will be able to do this online”.
The government had also prioritised immigration reform to attract skilled workers to the country, Ramaphosa confirmed in his weekly newsletter, released on October 14, Fin24 reported.
Despite these changes and statements of intent, his administration has also overseen an increase in the number of visa application denials compared to the final year of the Zuma presidency.
This was confirmed by Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in a response to a parliamentary question from EFF MP Vuyani Pambo.
Pambo asked the minister what number of visa applications were denied in 2017 and 2018 and what the country of origin was of each applicant whose application was denied.
Motsoaledi responded that the number of visas rejected in 2017 was 27,772 and 36,452 in 2018.