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New 'child immigration' laws postponed

The introduction of the travelling laws for children has been postponed to June 2016.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: Sapa

CAPE TOWN - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says the introduction of new immigration requirements for children, which have sparked an outcry, will be postponed until June.

Under the new regulations, parents travelling with children under the age of 18 will have to produce an unabridged birth certificate and written permission from the other parent if only one is travelling with the child.

The regulations were to have kicked in on 1 October to the consternation of the travel and tourism sector.

Gigaba says the postponement will give the travel and tourism industry time to inform travellers of the new requirement.

"We are not doing away with them, we are just postponing them until 1 June to allow the people affected in the industry to consult and communicate and inform their members and the people affected."

Gigaba recently met with industry associations about the new regulations, part of a general tightening up of South Africa's visa regime.

He said South African parents intending to travel with their children should use the postponement to apply for unabridged birth certificates in good time.

Gigaba said officials will be on guard at ports of entry during the nine month postponement.

"Our officials will be on high alert and will use other means, including additional screening, vetting and interviews to ensure all travelling children are authorised to do so."