Financial Implications of the New Immigration Regulations Can South Africa afford this Law?
Tourism has become a major global industry, however, barriers to travel exist internationally. By destination, the detrimental impact of this type of barrier is observed for tourists going to developing countries, but not for those to developed ones.
Media reports and public outcry suggest that in less than a month the new regulations have already ripped apart families, dissuaded investors, and led to the suspension and even cancellation of multimillion-rand film and tourism ventures,” DA MP Haniff Hoosen said. He further submitted that inefficient policy is not an excuse for national security, taking into account that there are more than three legislations which deals specifically with national security. According to a BusinessDay Newspaper analysis by – CEO of Odgers Brendtson Sub-Saharan Africa – South Africa’s new immigration visa rules are likely to have disastrous consequences for the economy. This alarming outlook is underlined by a report conducted by auditors Grant Thornton for the Tourism Business Council of SA (TBCSA) about the consequences that the new immigration regulations may have on the travel and tourism industries. The document reveals that the regulations could lead to more than 100,000 jobs and R 2.4 bn in revenue being lost in this sector. The Cape Film Commission has submitted the view that, due to the stringent visa requirements, South Africa is becoming less desirable for international film crews, and prior to the new immigration rules, South Africa used to be a preference for such. South Africa as a growing and developing economy, depends on international investments, both financially and by means of international skills which are rare in the country. The Tourism sector has already felt blows in which, a number of Chinese and Indian tourists has dropped by over 80 percent. This is detrimental and quite counter progressive, taking into account that South Africa enjoyed an estimate of over 10 million tourist arrivals . However, it should be mentioned that this is not surprising, taking into account that, China has only two South African foreign missions in its large population, and that is in Beijing and Shanghai.
The Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, explained that “the aim is not to create an administrative nightmare but to mitigate security risks". There are of course high risksfrom illegal activities that are international by nature, such as the drug trade or human trafficking. So it’s easy to see these new regulations are driven by good intentions. But in order for these regulations to work they must be implemented seamlessly; through intense communication internally in SA and in other countries, leniency when it comes to fines during the introductory stages of the requirements, process automation and proper information use. It is important to note that the problem in SA has not largely been weak visa requirements, but that since 1994 our borders have been grossly porous, which means it is easy for foreign nationals without passports or visas to enter and travel the country freely.. The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that it was, for a time, easy to fraudulently obtain a South African passport”. However it would seem like the Minister, in his attempt to fortify the national security, he has disregarded the economic implications of such a policy, and as a result failed to strike a balance between national security needs, and national economy priority. The Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom submitted in the Parliament’s Tourism portfolio committee that the new visa restrictions would have a negative effect on the country’s economy. Since 1990, tourism sector had expanded by 200%, and our Gross Domestic Price had increased by 74% as a result. Tourism’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Price was about 2.8% (R83.5bn) in 2011 to 3% (R93.3bn) in 2012. The sector is responsible for 4, 6% job creations, that is about 610 000 jobs, and already a further 225 000 was aimed for before 2019. South Africa registered an amount of R350, 6 billion Us dollars in the year 2013, and if already 80% percent of the sector that produces 3% of our Gross domestic price is already been affected in a few months of the new immigration regulations being practiced, then an accelerated drop on the economy, job losses and poverty is inevitable.