SA immigration issues

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All eyes will be on South Africa when it hosts the football World Cup in June–July next year. The visa requirements for companies providing goods and services are outlined for MEI readers by ASG Immigration's Cameron Stone.

Thousands of visitors are expected to arrive to watch matches being held at nine stadia in various locations across the country. There will also be many visitors arriving for the purpose of temporarily supplying goods or services to the spectators, the players themselves and everybody else associated with this major event. Of course there will be other groups such as journalists and photographers, who in their own right will make up a significant number. The number of temporary entrants into South Africa, both watching the games and working in relation to the games, is expected to create an enormous boost to South Africa's economy. Needless to say, every major event around the world requires the entry and stay of people to be carefully managed, in particular for those who are working. General visa requirements for large–scale events The control of entry for people providing goods and services at major events varies significantly from country to country. In general, work permission is required if a person is planning to work in a foreign country, however, short periods of work can sometimes be allowed on visit (non–work) visas. Alternatively, special arrangements can be made for large–scale events such as the World Cup. South Africa's visa requirementsSouth Africa has a 'visa national' system, which means that certain nationalities are required to obtain permission before they travel to the country. Other nationalities can travel 'visa free', including nationals of the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Technically speaking, even where a person has a visa to travel to South Africa, or is permitted to arrive in South Africa visa free, he or she can still be refused entry at the airport or border for certain reasons, such as their documentation not being compliant. 'Visitor Permits' are issued for holiday and business visits and to attend conferences, seminars or sports events. South Africa's visa requirements for suppliers for the World CupA standard Visitor Permit is not the appropriate entry permission for persons intending to supply goods or provide a service (i. e. undertake work) in South Africa for the World Cup. However a Visitor Permit can be authorised to allow work for a period of up to 90 days, with an option to extend once in South Africa. The 'visa national' system, as discussed above, is also applied in respect of Visitor Permits with this authorisation. The key documentation required for this Visitor Permit authorising work include standard documentation such as an application form and application fee (if applicable) as well as photos and a valid passport. Evidence of intention to leave South Africa at the conclusion of the visit and letters from both the employer (who will be paying the salary) and the inviting entity in South Africa are also required. In the case of the World Cup, the 'inviting entity' could be either FIFA (as the game's governing body) or, for example, a private sector company in South Africa. At the time of writing, the South African government is considering a special 'event visa' arrangement for visitors for the World Cup, based on a trial that is taking place at their Egypt Embassy in relation to persons applying for visas to attend matches as spectators for the FIFA Confederation Cup, which is currently being held in South Africa. However in terms of visa requirements for suppliers for the World Cup, it is perhaps likely that the Visitor Permit with work authorisation will be the appropriate mode of entry for those looking to make the most of the opportunities the World Cup offers. About Cameron Stone/ASG Immigration LimitedCameron Stone works for ASG Immigration Limited in London and advises on global immigration as its International Specialist. Stone is a qualified Australian immigration adviser (MARN 0853023) and can be contacted on +44 (0) 20 7299 3330 or via e–mail at cameron@asgvisa. com. This article is not intended to be a complete statement of the law relating to the subject matter. Advice should always be taken on specific matters and no responsibility can be accepted by ASG Immigration Limited for action taken based on the content of this article.

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