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SA hits back at New Zealand’s new visa move

South Africa has responded to New Zealand’s new visa requirements for its citizens by imposing the same on Kiwi visitors.
The tit-for-tat decision, announced by home affairs minister, Malusi Gigaba, was largely regarded as a “knee-jerk reaction” by some industry players. But Gigaba was adamant South Africa had made the right decision, saying the country would continue to apply both the principles of reciprocity and national interest in determining the extent it offered concessions to citizens of countries that impose visa requirements.
New Zealand citizens visiting SA will be required to apply for a visa as of January 16 next year.

The New Zealand government introduced visa requirements on 21 November, citing the number of SA visitors who overstayed the three-month visa waiver visit and fraudulent documentation. It also cited the number using the waiver to visit family or friends rather than for business or tourism purposes.

Immigration New Zealand GM, Peter Elms said at the time the changes would bring requirements in line with Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. Visa fees will remain low, while all other decisions on reciprocal visa requirements would be made considering broader national interests, Gigaba said.

“We have further noted that in recent times, a number of countries have imposed visa restrictions on South African passport holders. And in the past, we have not reciprocated due to reasons including tourism considerations.”

For example, SA had not imposed visa restrictions on UK nationals after that country ended its dispensation for South African nationals in 2009. Gigaba said that blanket restrictions were not imposed due to high tourist numbers from the UK.

According to Statistics SA in 2015 there were 19,436 tourists from New Zealand, out of a total of 2,9moverseas visitors. In the same year, Statistics New Zealand reported 17,008 visitors from SA – out of a total 448,800 international visitors.

Source: I-Net Bridge

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