A newly appointed immigration advisory board is in the process of formulating amendments to the immigration regulations, Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom (pictured), told delegates at the Satsa Conference.
TourismUpdate.co.za quotes the minister as saying that the existing immigration act required amendments and it needs to be made by the new immigration advisory board. The Department of Tourism is represented on the new board with changes expected to be in line with Cabinet directive to ensure South Africa’s regulations for travelling minors were in keeping with global practices.
As such, children would no longer be required to travel with an unabridged birth certificate, but adults would be advised that they may be required to prove their relationship to the children, should immigration officials be suspicious, for example, by producing an unabridged birth certificate.
This magazine reported earlier this month that SA’s bizarre child travel regulations are killing SA tourism. Tears continue to flow at international airports as families are denied boarding because of these rules. It is now nearly two years after the implementation of South Africa’s regulations for travelling minors and travellers are still being denied boarding as foreign airline staff try to implement the unabridged birth certificate (UBC) regulation.
For now the regulations will remain in effect until new amendments are gazetted and come into effect. Children travelling to and from South Africa are still required to travel with an unabridged birth certificate.
The Minster said the regulation had hurt tourism to South Africa, saying the immigration regulation hit the industry and department of tourism “like a bombshell”.
Hanekom also said the department needed to work on improving its engagement with other stakeholders, including the various departments within government that had an impact on tourism.