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New Zealand, SA in visa tit for tat

Source: – Star, 14/12/2016

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba Johannesburg - Travellers from New Zealand will, from January 16, need a visa to enter South Africa, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Tuesday.

The announcement followed that of the New Zealand High Commission that South Africans would need visas to enter that country.

“We have taken the upcoming festive season into consideration, and so I have decided to implement visa requirements for New Zealand passport holders only with effect from January,” he said.

“New Zealand introduced visa requirements for all South African nationals wishing to travel there with effect from November 21.”

Gigaba said the New Zealand government attributed certain factors which led to the decision to withdraw the visa waiver arrangements.

Among them was that South Africans exploited the arrangement and visited family and friends instead of travelling for tourism or business.

He said New Zealand authorities also mentioned that a number of travellers had been refused entry due to counterfeit or fraudulently obtained South African passports.

South Africa had, for some time now, adopted a visa policy based on the principle of reciprocity. “Therefore, in view of the aforementioned, a decision was taken to reciprocate by withdrawing the visa exemption which New Zealand passport holders enjoy,” Gigaba said.

New Zealand diplomatic, official and ordinary passport holders arriving at a South African port of entry without a visa after January 16 would not be allowed entry, Gigaba stressed, saying travellers should contact the department’s website to apply.

“This will allow them to acquaint themselves with the supporting documents needed to accompany a visa application before visiting the South African High Commission in Wellington.”

Gigaba said the fee applicable to an application for a New Zealand visa was almost four times the amount South Africa required as payment. “I decided not to reciprocate on that matter.”

He said South Africa’s visa fees were the lowest in the world, and had for the past 14 years remained at R425 for most of the categories and R1 520 for permits and work, business and corporate visas. He said the department would, in due course, increase its fees to align with inflation.

Gigaba said the country’s policy was never to deter foreign visitors or to reduce the flow of tourists, businesspeople and other travellers.

“Immigration, particularly for development, is high on our agenda, and thus the current endeavour is to comprehensively review our international migration policy.”

He said to that end, South Africa had improved security systems, including features on passports issued, and the introduction of biometric capturing at the four main international airports. The Star


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