News Articles

Parliament wants review of VFS Global’s visa contract

Source: Business Day, 12/03/2019

VFS Global manages visa application centres on behalf of the department. The appointment of VFS to act as the front-end administrative function for the department came into effect on June 20 2014. The home affairs minister at the time told the media that the appointment of VFS would help speed up functions and make the department more efficient. It also freed badly needed staff from the mundane tasks of handling forms and the collection of information. All visa and permit applications are first processed at VFS centres. These applications are then assessed by the department of home affairs in Pretoria. Applicants must now pay an additional fee to VFS, which costs up to R3,000 a person. This fee is applied in cases such as appeals which should be free, immigration lawyers said when it was introduced. Immigration experts and lawyers argued then that the service fee was not provided for in law and made the acquisition of constitutional requirements such as identity books and birth certificates out of reach for most. For example, a critical skills visa an applicant who would have normally paid the department R1,520 for the visa will also now have to pay VFS R1,350 for the front-end service. The minister will be expected to respond to the committee within a week, to ensure that the matter is dealt with before parliament rises on March 20. The committee criticised the department for its decision to grant VFS Global a two-year extension, saying it is in violation of the Public Finance Management Act and National Treasury regulations on procurement within competitive bidding processes. “The extension creates a perception of another Cash Paymaster Services (CPS), which was the only service provider at the South Africa Social Security Agency said to have the capacity to render services. It is even more concerning that the department has extended the scope of work of VFS to establish services in countries it did not have previously,” said Hlomani Chauke, who chairs the home affairs committee. He said it raises concerns about the legitimacy of the contract. Chauke said that while the committee acknowledged that parliament had no right to inform the department on which companies to contract for services, it would be a dereliction of its duty if it did not highlight cases where the department was deliberately breaking its own rules and guidelines. Chauke said the lack of capacity at the department to process visa applications was raised as a matter of concern as it hampers the drive to grow SA’s economy through tourism. “It is even more concerning that capacity in key tourism markets, such as Nigeria and India, is lacking, leading to fewer processed applications and impacting on the numbers of tourists coming into the country,” he said.


Search

  •    Statistics SA`s analysis of tourist arrivals between 2013 and 2014 fails to take into account that 2013 tourist arrival figures included transit passengers, while for 2014 these were excluded.... Read more...
  •    A retirement visa can be granted for 4 years to someone with a monthly pension, irrevocable annuity or retirement account of R37 000 from a net worth/combination of assets realizing R37 000 per month and wishes to retire temporarily or permanently in South Africa.... Read more...
  •    A retirement visa can be granted for 4 years to someone with a monthly pension, irrevocable annuity or retirement account of R37 000 from a net worth/combination of assets realizing R37 000 per month and wishes to retire temporarily or permanently in South Africa.... Read more...
  •    There has been much confusion surrounding the amendments to the unbridged birth certificate (UBC) requirements for visitors coming to South Africa from abroad, as gazetted on November 30, and coming into effect on December 1.... Read more...
  •    We have written in our newsletter on previous occasions about the unnecessary delays in processing not only Temporary Residence Visas but also Permanent Residence Visas.... Read more...
  •    IN a surprise turn of events, the Eastern Cape Department of Education has agreed to allow 37 children to attend schools despite them not having birth certificates. This change of heart comes as the department is due to face judges of the Constitutional Court to answer to the fact that the children have not attended school this year.... Read more...
  •    For many years, asylum seekers attempting to claim benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) have routinely been turned away by the Department of Labour, despite having made contributions to the Fund during their employment.... Read more...
  •    The Department of Home Affairs says it will pilot new e-gates at a number of South African airports in 2019. A spokesperson told BusinessTech that the gates will first be piloted at Cape Town International Airport and will form part of the implementation of the Biometric Movement Control System (BMCS). He added that a further rollout will be done in a phased approach, with Oliver Tambo and King Shaka International airports to follow. “The broad objective of the project is the facilitation of movement of low-risk travellers through a self-service solution, hence freeing capacity for the assessment of high-risk categories by an immigration officer,” the spokesperson said.... Read more...
  •    The home affairs committee criticised the department for its decision to grant VFS a two-year extension, saying it violates regulations Parliament`s home affairs portfolio committee has called on home affairs minister Siyabonga Cwele to review the department’s contract with VFS global.... Read more...
  •    For every skilled professional coming to South Africa, eight are leaving. This was the major finding of an Enterprise Observatory of South Africa (EOSA) report released in January. The researchers found that while a large number of white professionals were making the jump, in recent years, the annual number of black professionals leaving South Africa exceeds the tally of professional white emigrants.... Read more...

Get the latest Immigration News