As a way of strengthening relationship between the South African State and the European Union, SA ministry of Home Affairs revealed that requirements for Visa to EU will soon be given at lesser prices for South Africans.
Home Affair’s Boss Malusi Gigaba revealed this after holding discussions with European Union Ambassador Dr. Marcus Cornaro on immigration-related issues between Europe and South Africa.
There, the minister said the two countries are in the process of finalizing the deal but that the two have agreed to look at multiple visa entry programmes for business people. “We’ve identified a number of sub-sectors that are considered as low risk.
“We’ve identified business people; we’ve identified academics, students, and other sub-sectors. We’ve agreed that we are going to look at the possibility of granting visa to EU exemptions.
“We are asking the EU to consider giving exemptions for ordinary South Africans too – those who make frequent trips to EU countries, who spend money there, and who make a positive contribution,” Gigaba said.
“Obviously South Africa’s own interest in the long term is a full visa exemption for ordinary South African passport holders. In our view there is a need for passport holders who travel at their own expense,” the minister said.
Processing visa to EU countries has become a thing of huge worry to South Africans in terms of cost but minister Gigaba said the two parties had decided to set a time frame for future discussions on visa related matters so that it does not become an open-ended process.
Hayley Walls, marketing manager at Thompsons Travel also told IOL that local travelers are often put off by visa requirements.
“They’ll opt for visa-free destinations such as Thailand because they want to avoid the hassle of having to obtain a visa. So, if the EU were to scrap their visa requirements, that would without a doubt influence the decision-making process in favour of Europe,” Walls said.
Gigaba confirmed that the UK visa for example, is acquired at an exorbitant price for South Africans especially to business individuals who depend on these business trips.
“To fork out R10, 000 applying for a visa is quite an exorbitant fee for anyone. We want in the long term for those people to be exempted,” he said.
“We are quite happy with the progress we made in the discussion – and the time frames we have set,” he added.
BuzzSouthAfrica also gathered that a visa for a visitor to the UK starts at R1,790 currently, and depends on your entry requirements, while a schengen visa costs €60.00 (R920).
Meanwhile, the European Union Ambassador Dr. Marcus Cornaro noted that discussions about visas would need to overcome regulatory framework issues, which he said that he hoped wouldn’t be shelved for too long.
“I am personally optimistic that within a few weeks we will actually have that high level of senior official’s dialogue on those points,” he said.