BRICS business executives to receive long-term visa

Pretoria: Business executives from BRICS countries, who apply for a visa to visit South Africa for short business trips, will now receive a long-term visa allowing them multiple entries for up to 10 years.

“Effective from 23 December 2014, as authorized by section 10A of the Immigration Act of 2002, I have approved the issuance of port of entry visas to BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India and China) business executives for up to 10 years, with each visit not to exceed 30 days,” said Home Affairs Minister, Malusi Gigaba.

The long-term visa applies to diplomatic, official/service and ordinary passport holders.

Making the announcement during a media briefing held in Cape Town on Thursday, Minister Gigaba said the approval follows previous efforts to ease travel of BRICS business people to South Africa, such as a directive last year waiving the requirement to provide proof of financial means to BRICS businesspeople, which provided a Note Verbale as part of their visa application.

He noted that prior to making the announcement; they have extensively consulted the Department of Trade and Industry as well as the BRICS Business Council.

“We believe that this significant step will tremendously enhance our efforts to increase trade and investment between our countries and give further impetus to President Zuma’s pronouncements both during the State of the Nation Address, as well as at Davos earlier this year during the World Economic Forum, that South Africa is open for business,” Minister Gigaba said.

The Minister said that as a large and diversified developing economy with a sophisticated financial system, advanced infrastructure and close links to the rest of Africa, South Africa is a very strategic partner to its BRICS counter-parts.

He highlighted that BRICS partners represent an important opportunity for South Africa, distinguished from a host of other promising emerging markets by their demographic and economic potential to rank among the world’s largest and most influential economies in the 21st century.

“Together the five BRICS countries comprise almost 3 billion people or 40% of the world’s population, cover more than a quarter of the world’s land area over four continents and account for more than 25% of global gross domestic product.”

He added that business people from Brazil, Russia, India and China want to come to South Africa, buy and sell an increasing array of products and services, and invest in the country’s companies and growth sectors.

“At Home Affairs we are completely committed to enabling this by facilitating the efficient entry of these commercial visitors and will continually look for opportunities to improve in this regard.

“We look forward to working productively with the BRICS Business Council and other industry groupings to find solutions such as this one, which enhance our country’s economic competitiveness,” Minister Gigaba said.

He also reassured that the department will continue to meet its turnaround time of five days for short term business visas.