In a recent development, that has left immigration professionals with more questions that answers, South African Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba, announced on the 25th February 2015, that business and diplomatic travelers from BRIC countries will receive Port of Entry visas upon arrival into South Africa.

The BRIC Countries are Brazil, Russia, India and China. South Africa has long been considered the added country and the acronym BRICS is often used.

These visas will be issued for up to ten (10) years to BRIC business travelers.

More importantly, these visas apply to diplomatic, official and service as well as ordinary passport holders and will be issued as multiple-travel entry visas, with a special condition of a stay no longer than 30 days at a time.

In theory if a business man from India or Russia wishes to visit SA on a business trip, we understand that he will be issued with a visa at the first port of entry. This would be significantly easier compared to the current processes.

In the same statement, the Department advised that it had consulted extensively with the BRICS business council and the trade and industry department.

According to news23.com Minister Gigaba stated “the four countries presented an important investment potential”. Together with South Africa, the countries comprised 40% of the world’s population.

POINTS OF CONCERN

The Department of Home Affairs stipulates that it would continue to meet a turnaround time of five days for short-term business visas

These are the questions that immigration professionals are asking;

  1. How will this be possible practically speaking as both these countries are currently considered visa-restricted?
  2. Would their nationals no longer need to obtain a consular visa prior to arrival in SA?
  3. Does the Minister statement now remove the visa restriction for India & Russia for business travelers or can the promise to issues business visas within 5 days be construed as the need to continue filing Consular visas pre-arrival?

PLG|KGNM SOUTH AFRICA reached out to the Minister’s office to seek clarification on the restriction issue and hope to have an answer from them soon. Pro-Link GLOBAL provides this update with thanks to our PLG|KGNM SOUTH AFRICA IBN Consulting.