Immigration News

Home Affairs modernised: Biometrics for the free movement of Africans

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As you may by now know, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa has embarked on an ambitious campaign to modernise in an effort to make interaction with the department easier. In addition to the switch from the Green bar-coded ID books to a new Smartcard ID format, you are now able to get some documents through the 4 major banks and can also perform some transactions using a newly launched eHomeAffairs online platform. The benefits are definitely there to see with reduced queues at the departments’ offices and your ability to get things done quicker from the comfort of your own home. The Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba was speaking at a Cape Town Press Club breakfast briefing this past week.

But this convergence or sharing of Biometrics is also being strategised beyond SA’s borders as the minister highlighted the sharing of biometric information with neighbours. This would allow it to better facilitate movement between borders, identify low-risk individuals and those who should not be allowed into the country, citing recent progress made with the Lesotho Special Permit as well as the 10-year bilateral agreement reached in Kenya, with all African business and academic travellers being allowed a multiple entry visa, valid for 10-years.

“We have undertaken to dedicate specific focus to the management of our immigration services, precisely because we believe part of our responsibility is rooted in the National Development Plan, in particular our role in enabling economic development and contributing to national security.”

Gigaba said a Final Draft of the Green Paper on Migration has been finalized, with key policy recommendations seeking to improve economic capabilities strategically by way of retaining international students in the country post-graduation to overcome the non-recognition of qualifications, which is one of the critical challenges associated with leveraging skilled foreign nationals.

“Consultations with relevant key stakeholders in this aspect are ongoing.” says Gigaba

Parts of this post are excerpts from an article by Selene Brophy on Traveller24 News – Click here for full article

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