'New visa laws disastrous'
WC MEC Alan Winde says the new visa regulations will have disastrous consequences for the economy.
CAPE TOWN - Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde says the new visa regulations will have disastrous consequences for the entire economy, particularly the tourism sector.
Winde will today formally petition Parliament to suspend the newly implemented immigration regulations.
Included under the new law, Visitors Visa holders who wish to change the terms or status of their visa must submit an application no less than 60 days prior to the date of expiration.
It's no longer possible to change from a Visitors Visa to another visa category within the country.
The new rules have sparked public outcry and legal challenges since coming into effect in May this year.
Winde says some individuals in the tourism industry have been informed by their international clients to brace themselves for a drastic drop in business as a result of the regulations.
"These are the kind of messages that we are picking up from tour operators and countries that are sending visitors to us that if these barriers are like they are they are really going to rethink how they market South Africa."
At the same time, the Cape Film Commission in June said the new visa rules are threatening to make the country less attractive to foreign film crews.
Cape Town has become a popular destination for film shoots and television shows, but the commission warned that Home Affairs may be throwing a spanner in the works.
The new rules prohibit foreigners from using agents for visa applications and visitors are also not allowed to renew or change their status if already in the country.
Last month, 20 international airlines from countries like Rwanda, United Kingdom, China and Mauritius wrote open letters to government warning that the new requirements are going to be a public relations and tourism disaster for the country.
The new requirements make it compulsory for children travelling to South Africa to carry their unabridged birth certificates with them.