Articles

Articles

05. Jun. 2024 Daily Maverick

EU visa restrictions on Ethiopians highlight further strains in migration relations




Since 29 April, the European Union (EU) has imposed temporary restrictions on Schengen short-term visas for Ethiopians. These include prohibiting multiple entry visas, longer processing times, and eliminating waivers for certain documentary requirements and visa fees.

The European Commission said the action was due to a “lack of response from the Ethiopian authorities regarding readmission requests,” and shortcomings in organising “voluntary and non-voluntary return operations,” (the latter is how the EU describes deportation).

The restrictions raise concerns about the efficiency and fairness of the EU’s migration policies. Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Nebiyu Tedla said the developments were “incompatible with acceptable diplomatic practices” and asked the EU Council to reconsider the “unfair” restrictions.

In 2017, the EU and Ethiopia agreed on admission procedures for the return of Ethiopians from EU countries. Although this agreement was never made public, a leaked statement revealed that similar arrangements were later made between Ethiopia and Norway and Switzerland.

Since then, two EU-Ethiopia working group meetings and two technical meetings organised by the EU Commission have taken place to facilitate implementation of the 2017 procedures. In 2018, the EU and Ethiopia reached a non-binding agreement on the readmission of Ethiopians without visas or the legal right to remain in the EU.

In 2019, 1,395 Ethiopians staying illegally in EU member states were issued return decisions, but only 215 travelled home - an average return rate of 15%. Member states submitted 985 readmission requests to Ethiopian authorities, who issued 41 travel documents - an issuance rate of just 4%.

The overall return rates from the EU are low. Last year, over 83,000 people were returned to countries outside the EU, which the European Commission says is a return rate of 19% - not much higher than Ethiopia’s return rate of 15% in 2019.

Most people residing unlawfully in the EU initially enter through legal means via airports, but overstay their visas. These numbers far exceed those who arrive by sea or land seeking asylum or other opportunities. Only about one in three people ordered to leave the EU do.
Punitive perspectives

If the problem is overstaying, efforts should focus on finding solutions to this legitimate concern. Instead, the EU’s new measures unfairly target Ethiopians travelling for legitimate reasons, such as education, family reunification, medical treatment or business. Individuals shouldn’t be held accountable for their government’s actions. Imposing additional hurdles on those who enter the EU legally doesn’t address the root causes of irregular migration, but punishes those following the law.

This punitive approach contradicts the principles of good migration governance and contrasts with the EU’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, which advocates for accessible and efficient legal migration channels. Experts say for the New Pact to be effective, the EU must critically re-evaluate readmission agreements to return rejected asylum seekers to their home countries or safe third countries.

These agreements must respect international law, particularly the non-refoulement principle, which prohibits returning individuals to a country where they may face persecution, torture or serious harm.
Reintegration measures

The Ethiopian government needs to address the socio-economic costs of reintegration and protect its emigrants. The country’s growing engagement with its diaspora for economic and political reasons has influenced its stance on admitting returnees from the EU. Ethiopia is willing to repatriate its citizens detained in countries like Saudi Arabia, Yemen or Libya, viewing their return from inhumane detention conditions as a humanitarian protection measure.

However, Ethiopian officials don’t see rejected asylum seekers in the EU who are awaiting deportation as being in similarly dire conditions, so don’t prioritise their return on humanitarian grounds. Ethiopian officials also feel the EU hasn’t offered significant incentives, such as development funding, as part of its return agenda, so they are less inclined to help with the return of rejected asylum seekers or irregular migrants.
Cracks in partnership

Even so, why is the EU targeting Ethiopia with these latest restrictions? Past Institute for Security Studies analysis has suggested that the stance of the African Union and most African countries is not to accept forced returns. While the EU’s restrictions could be a tactic to pressure Ethiopia into compliance, it also reflects a history of significant EU investment in Ethiopia on migration governance - with minimal results.

The longstanding EU - Ethiopia partnership, including the 2016 Migration Partnership Framework, raised expectations. However, the framework failed to meet its goals despite substantial EU financial support. The EU criticised Ethiopia for inadequate returns, while Ethiopian officials felt the focus on migrant returns overshadowed broader cooperation.

The new restrictions could indicate a worrying future trend. The EU’s move is symbolic, demonstrating its resolve in handling non-compliant countries and setting a precedent. If successful, it could be applied to other African nations, increasing disparity and leading to a more fragmented migration landscape.

The European Commission is apparently using visa rules to pressure countries to cooperate with deportation procedures. This isn’t new - agreements with Sahelian countries such as Libya and Tunisia show that the EU rewards countries that cooperate on migration governance, and penalises those that are reluctant to comply.

Last July, a European delegation signed a memorandum of understanding with Tunisia that included measures to combat irregular immigration in exchange for increased immigration controls and facilitation of voluntary returns. Between 2014 and 2020, the EU allocated over €700-million to Libya for the same reasons.

The EU’s migration policies must be consistent, fair and effective. Rather than resorting to punitive measures, it should engage in constructive dialogue with Ethiopia to address concerns about irregular migration and foster cooperation. By aligning its actions with its stated goals, the EU can promote a balanced, humane migration system that respects individuals’ rights and supports legal migration pathways. DM



V.5416
12. Jul. 2024 Radio567

Fixing Home Affairs: Every SAn understands the scale of the problem - Schreiber

The DA`s Leon Schreiber is the Home Affairs Minister-designate. He discusses his priorities with John Maytham. Is a more competent Home Affairs department on the horizon? President Cyril Ramaphosa’s newly announced Cabinet has had to accommodate ministers and deputy ministers from six former opposition parties. The post of Home Affairs Minister has gone to Leon Schreiber from the Democratic Alliance, who takes over from the ANC`s Aaron Motsoaledi who returns in the guise of Health Minister. V.5478

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12. Jul. 2024 News 24

Busted! Children found inside trailer after Paarl police intercept bus with undocumented passengers

Police conducting an early morning patrol intercepted a bus carrying undocumented passengers • Police found undocumented women and children inside a trailer attached to the bus. • A passenger then intervened and offered one of the police officers R50 000 to release the passengers. • Home Affairs Minister, Leon Schreiber announced last week that foreign tourists, students and visitors who have applied for visa extensions will be allowed to stay in the country until the end of this year . V.5479

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12. Jul. 2024 News24

EXPLAINER | Short-term work visa vs SA`s new remote work visa: what`s the difference?

The remote work visa allows individuals employed by foreign companies to work remotely in South Africa, and is similar to the nomad visas now popular in many countries across the globe, explains Aadil Wadee. A significant change introduced by the newly gazetted regulations on 20 May 2024, was the implementation of the remote work visa in South Africa. V.5483

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12. Jul. 2024 Daily Maverick

After the Bell: Ireland’s not being a good sport about its visa push

Irish eyes might be smiling, but South Africans are rightly rankled by Ireland’s new visa requirements, imposed on Monday with a tiny bone thrown our way by way of a ‘grace period’ that is probably of use to only a minuscule cohort of travellers. V.5484

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11. Jul. 2024 The Star

Calls for home affairs minister to reverse visa extension continue to grow

Amid an increasing calls for new Minister of Home Affairs Leon Schreiber to reverse his decision to extend the deadline for visa applications, ActionSA has called for the minister to prioritise jobs for South Africans. Last week, a day after being sworn in, Schreiber extended the temporary concession for foreign nationals who are awaiting the outcome of visa, waiver and appeal applications. The extension safeguards applicants, including those who are contributing to South Africa through their scarce skills, from suffering adverse consequences or being erroneously declared undesirable while they await the outcome of applications submitted to the department. V.5473

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11. Jul. 2024 Pretoria News

Home Affairs told to unblock man’s ID after three years

A Man who was more than three years ago suddenly stripped of his South African citizenship by Home Affairs, and who had in the meantime lost his job as a result, turned to the court for a final interdict to force the department to unblock his ID document. The applicant, only identified as FS, told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, of the hardships he has encountered after home affairs simply took away his citizenship in April 2021, based on unverified claims that he is actually a Zimbabwe national. He said his life has been a nightmare since, as he cannot travel, he is now unemployed and he cannot even receive a social grant. V.5474

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11. Jul. 2024 Pretoria News

Home Affairs told to unblock man’s ID after three years

A Man who was more than three years ago suddenly stripped of his South African citizenship by Home Affairs, and who had in the meantime lost his job as a result, turned to the court for a final interdict to force the department to unblock his ID document. The applicant, only identified as FS, told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, of the hardships he has encountered after home affairs simply took away his citizenship in April 2021, based on unverified claims that he is actually a Zimbabwe national. He said his life has been a nightmare since, as he cannot travel, he is now unemployed and he cannot even receive a social grant. V.5475

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11. Jul. 2024 New Zimbabwe

Clarity on Zimbabwe exemption permits deadline in South Africa; new Home Affairs minister gets flake for ‘soft’ stance

THE National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) on Thursday provided clarity for all affected parties on the relevant deadlines and periods of validity of the the Zimbabwean exemption permits (ZEP) dispensation. There are more than a million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, according to South Africa’s census data. It said for the current holders of the original ZEPs, the deadline has been extended and was valid until November 29, 2024. V.5476

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11. Jul. 2024 EWN (EYEWITNESS NEWS )

Home Affairs reports over 300,000 cases of fraudulent visas and permits

The Home Affairs Department is now preparing to hand over at least 94 individuals for investigation by the Hawks, on top of 28 others already handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations. CAPE TOWN - The Home Affairs Department says it has identified more than 300,000 cases related to the fraudulent issuing of visas and permits. It is now preparing to hand over at least 94 individuals for investigation by the Hawks, on top of 28 others already handed over to the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations. V.5477

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10. Jul. 2024 News24

Cape Town, OR Tambo airports ranked in world`s top 10 - beating Japan, US

Cape Town International Airport has been ranked second-best worldwide, according to a new survey from passenger claims company Airhelp. The survey, which takes into account customers` opinions on an airport`s on-time performance, customer service delivery, and food and shops, ranked 239 airports from 69 countries. V.5469

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10. Jul. 2024 Business Day

South Africans no longer allowed into Ireland without a visa

SA and Botswana nationals are required to obtain a visa before travelling to Ireland, effective from Wednesday. A transit visa will also be required if intending to transit through Ireland en route to another destination. V.5470

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10. Jul. 2024 IOL

ActionSA’s Herman Mashaba urges Home Affairs unit to combat illegal immigration

ActionSA leader Herman Mashaba has advocated for the newly sworn-in Minister of Home Affairs, Leon Schreiber to establish a special unit within his department to handle illegal immigrant issues. Last week, Schreiber extended the temporary concession for foreigners waiting for visa, waiver and appeal outcomes. According to Schreiber, the extension seeks to protect applicants, especially those contributing scarce skills in South Africa from facing negative outcomes of being mistakenly labelled undesirable while they wait for their application outcomes from the department. V.5471

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09. Jul. 2024 SA People

Cape Town confirmed as top filming destination

The City of Cape Town revealed a rise in filming permit applications for 2023/24, only confirming that Cape Town is a prime filming location. Cape Town is a top spot for filming. More filming permits for Cape Town Between 1 July 2023 and 30 June 2024, the City of Cape Town’s Film Permit Office issued 4 757 film permits, a massive 22% increase from the 3 910 permits issued the previous year. This is per the City of Cape Town, who revealed that the permits were lodged for feature films, commercials, TV series, stills photography, documentary films, short films, student projects and music videos. V.5466

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09. Jul. 2024 SUNDAY WORLD

New Home Affairs minister’s foreign scarce skills retention plan

Newly appointed Home Affairs minister has unveiled plans to retain scarce skills. Just a day after being sworn in, the new Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Leon Schreiber, has extended the temporary concession for foreign nationals who are currently awaiting the outcome of visa, waiver and appeal applications. The extension safeguards applicants, including those who are contributing to South Africa through their scarce skills, from suffering adverse consequences or being erroneously declared undesirable while they await the outcome of applications submitted to the department. V.5467

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08. Jul. 2024 The Guardian

International students left feeling like ‘cash cows’ after Albanese government raises visa fees

Surprise increase makes Australian visa application fee among most expensive in the world, as new survey finds rising costs putting prospective students off International students say the Australian government is making them feel like “cash cows” and sending a clear message they are unwelcome after home affairs more than doubled the price of visa applications overnight. The non-refundable visa fee rose from $710 to $1,600 without prior warning on Monday, making it one of the most expensive in the world and well in excess of competitors New Zealand (A$343), Canada (A$164), the UK (A$932) and the US (A$277). V.5461

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08. Jul. 2024 Business Tech

Foreigners are flocking to retire in South Africa - here’s why and where they’re coming from

Thousands of foreign nationals have chosen South Africa as their retirement destination, with many of them leaving some notable first-world countries such as the United Kingdom, China, Germany, and the United States of America. In a parliamentary Q&A last year, the former Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, was asked to provide the total number of retirement visa applications received and approved, as well as the countries from which these applicants came. In his response, Motsoaledi revealed that over the past two years, South Africa had received approximately 3,645 retirement visa applications from foreigners residing in 112 countries. V.5462

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08. Jul. 2024 The Citizen

‘It’s not clear-cut’: New Home Affairs minister explains his approach to ZEPs

Schreiber says SA must differentiate between ZEP holders who have contributed their skills to the country and those who have undermined the system. Newly appointed Home Affairs Minister Leon Schreiber says he needs time to review the processes and “missteps” in how the Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEPs) were handled. This comes after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) ruled that former Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi unlawfully terminated the ZEP. The ZEP has allowed Zimbabweans to live, work and study in South Africa since 2009. This has been part of the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project. V.5463

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08. Jul. 2024 N Business

VFS Global CEO interview: the man seeking to simplify the visa process

When thinking of soaring demand for international travel, we visualise selfie stick-wielding visitors bustling through crowded markets and snaking queues of excited and weary travellers at airport counters. A record five billion people are expected to take to the skies this year, according to the International Air Travel Association, up from an estimated 4.49 billion in 2023. For some associated sectors of the industry, the impact of this boom is felt early on, before travellers begin the actual journey, as the queues are getting longer at visa processing centres amid the growing hunger for leisure, business and migration travel. V.5464

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05. Jul. 2024 TIMESOFINDIA

Change in visa rules in Australia - how will it impact Indians

Synopsis Starting July 1, 2024, changes to Australian student visa rules require offshore applications. Temporary Graduate visa holders must explore job opportunities for extended stay. Post-study work rights are shorter with stricter English Effective July 1, 2024, individuals applying for an Australian student visa must begin their application process from outside the country, rather than within Australia. This change affects holders of specific visas, such as Visitor and Temporary Graduate visas, who will no longer be allowed to apply for student visas while in Australia. V.5456

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05. Jul. 2024 Savemytaxes

700,000 IDs Are Still Blocked by Home Affairs in South Africa: Are You One of Them? Check Here

700,000 IDs Are Still Blocked by Home Affairs in South Africa: Are You One of Them? Check Here: In a landmark ruling that could potentially alter the lives of hundreds of thousands, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has declared the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) practice of blocking South African IDs as unconstitutional. 700,000 IDs Are Still Blocked by Home Affair This judgment comes as a significant relief to many who have found themselves in a state of bureaucratic limbo, unable to access essential V.5457

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Articles

12. Jul. 2024 Radio567

Fixing Home Affairs: Every SAn understands the scale of the problem - Schreiber

The DA`s Leon Schreiber is the Home Affairs Minister-designate. He discusses his priorities with John Maytham. Is a more competent Home Affairs department on the horizon? President Cyril Ramaphosa’s newly announced Cabinet has had to accommodate ministers and deputy ministers from six former opposition parties. The post of Home Affairs Minister has gone to Leon Schreiber from the Democratic Alliance, who takes over from the ANC`s Aaron Motsoaledi who returns in the guise of Health Minister. V.5478

Click here for full article

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