Thursday, February 26, 2009

Visa's, Visa's For Everywhere

Nothing much to report on yesterday. Got stuck in typical accident traffic on the highway going home (have you noticed how often in Joburg, a cop car is one of the ones with a dent?!) so decided to postpone gym till 8pm, after dinner.

Silly idea. I should know better. Varen was supposed to be working late, I was supposed to have my girl's poker night. Both didn't really happen and we ended up being lazy watching series on TV.

This morning on the radio I heard something I was wondering if other people knew about? That from 03March South African citizens will require a visa when just visiting or in transit in the UK. Shoo. Now this doesn't really affect me right now, but I am curious about the whole "visa thing". As I said before, Australians don't require visa's for practically anywhere ... yet we require visa's for just about everywhere! And they're damn expensive, stressful (what if you've booked your holiday and don't get one?) and time-consuming (in both waiting for an embassy to provide the visa and all those lengthy drives to the embassy to drop off & collect your passport - embassy's have the most ridiculous opening hours!). Sigh. I feel marginalised. Like as a South African, they're trying to stop me traveling and visiting all the exciting novel foreign destinations of my choosing. Sigh. Oh but don't worry ... they've made an allowance that "until mid-2009, South African nationals who have previously travelled to the UK on their current passport will be exempt from the visa requirement" ... ooh, a whole extra 3 months or so. What kind of vague date is mid-2009?

Anyhoo, it's not like I'm planning a visit or a stop-over there anytime soon, but it's irksome nonetheless.

15 comments:

boldly benny said...

Yip that is what is happening! We only have ourselves to blame. Part of the reason for the two-year work visa being revoked and us needing visas is because we have marginalised the Brits. I know with the work visa, the idea behind it was to encourage an exchange of knowledge and skills development. However, while we had ship loads of Saffas going to the UK with the goal of securing a work permit, Brits are not permitted to work here. At first I thought SA was justified because we have such high unemployment rates but I guess in the bigger picture, the UK is supplying jobs to a lot of foreigners and they pump the money out of the country so that that they can buy assets or assist in their country of origin. If a British person were to come and work in SA they wouldn't be sending rands home to the UK they would be spending them here.
It's frustrating with having to get a visa now for visiting but unfortunately this is all by our own doing - poor international policy means we all have to pay the price.

The Chantal said...

Actually it's not just SA, about 10countries were given 6 months to comply (some changes had to be made, regulations met whatever) some countries did the necessary, ours didn't, thus you will have to pay for a visa. So blame the incompetent asses here, SA isn't being marginalised. This is a rehash of what I read when it was announced, but I think its the gist of it.

phillygirl said...

@benny - thanks for that insight ... I've never really thought much about that. Although I know it is pretty hard for foreigners to work here (the Peeb's boyf is American and he actually got deported before he managed to secure his work visa - I think, may have the story wrong here, Peeb?).

But that's a working visa and in which case I can quite understand the basis of revoking it. But this is a freaking travel visa. I guess everywhere is just so worried the South African's might never leave :P It's the umpteen travel visa's I always need that make me wish I was born with a different passport :(

phillygirl said...

@chantal - oh, I wasn't feeling marginalised by this specific change - what's one more visa we need on top of the millions already anyway, right? Was just feeling it generally, because of the fact that we need so many.

boldly benny said...

I mentioned work visa because I think it was a phase-in process. As Chantal mentioned we had a number of criteria to meet for both visas and we didn't so they've revoked both privileges.
My sister actually got sent back to SA with her work visa so I don't think they were fool-proof (not saying my sis is a fool - he he!)
I hate the mission of visas but unfortunately this is SA's fault. Still blows that we have to drop around R1000 every time we want to travel somewhere. I always damn MM and his bloody EU passport.

Tamara said...

This does tick me off, because London is one of the main stop-overs for fligths to other parts of the world from SA, and travelling there is already such a nightmare (I DO NOT heart Heathrow). Why can't they make it that you need a visa if you're going to be there more than 48 hours or something?

The Divine Miss M said...

"In July last year the UK gave 11 countries six months to address certain security concerns. The countries were Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

Along with Bolivia, Venezuela, Swaziland and Lesotho, South Africa did not meet the requirements."

I think that our own Government should take the blaim for this. The British government is trying to protect itself from the massive number of fake passports that were being used to travel using South Africa as their point of origin.

Re working visas the state that England is in at the moment I think that it is actually a good thing that they are clamping down and stopping the amount of people coming over. There are too few jobs and so many people coming over that they have retracted all working holiday visas and now to apply for a highly skilled one you need to have a Masters degree along with a minimum salary. The company has to prove that they can not find a suitable British counterpart which is completely fair considering that people are fighting for jobs in London at the moment.

It isn't always about just picking on South Africa!

phillygirl said...

@benny, chantal & miss m - I completely agree with the 2year working holiday visa thing. If you really wanna go work in another country, you can apply for a proper working visa (like the HSMP Visa for UK) and do it (if you meet their requirements). Yes it costs a fortune, but as miss m said they don't need more people looking for work in their country! (That said it is kinda sad for people who won't get that opportunity, but times change)

I also completely agree that the issue is entirely the responsibility of our government and they have clearly failed us by not meeting the requirements in time.

I (incl. tamara & benny) was merely lamenting the fact that it ends up costing so much extra for us to merely *travel* abroad, visit and experience another country for those few weeks a year when we get leave. And it's not just about cost ... it's about the time and annoyance of dealing with an embassy. I am just sorry to hear that we have to go thru these hurdles for yet another country. Especially since, as tamara said, it's a stop-over en route to so many other destinations that the chances are loads of people are going to need them. I hope the visa they issue is valid for a decent amount of time ... how's 10 years sound ;) (like the American one, I think)

akika said...

He wasn't actually deported. They just got a bit cranky 'cause he came in on his passport, getting his automatic 3 month holiday visa at customs and then tried to apply for a special skills visa while here. They want you to apply for that sort of thing outside of the country.

The Divine Miss M said...

It's unfortunately a 6 month one that you can come back in to the country as many times as you like with, but not 10 years.

hairtoday said...

Did you hear the British High Commissioner (or something) positively ranting on the radio this morning about how easy it is to buy a fake S.A passport in Joburg?

phillygirl said...

@akika/peeb - okay, well I knew I remembered words about him being deported as a possibility :) But he did have to go back to USA for a while before they'd grant his work visa, didn't he ??

@miss m - isn't that freaking typical. Oh well ... what can ya do :P And I've read it's gonna cost 65 EUR for the holiday visa & 45 EUR for the transit one (and you'll have to complete a 10 page form, have fingerprints & a biometric retinal-scan taken - if the article is to be believed!). All in the name of security (which I can completely understand - although it doesn't make it any less frustrating for moi), pity it hinders us law-abiding citizens so horribly :(

@hairtoday - nope, mostly because I no longer listen to the radio (I heart podcasts, no ad breaks!) ... and see what happens when I listen to a measly few minutes of radio on my way to work, I get into a flurry about something apparently everyone already knew about ;) Is very sad to hear about the fake SA Passport issue ... sad, sad, sad. Wonder what'll be next? SA Passports that are only valid for 6 months, sigh it takes the government about that long to issue the damn things!

Steffi said...

Interesting post,For my daughter it was not easy to receive a visa for S.A.because she needed a longer visa as volunteer on a school(for 9 months).So much bureaucracy ,strict regulations,caution money deposit,certificate of health...That´s frustrating! Now she has a visiting visa for 9 months.
I agree with Boldly Benny´s comment....

Steffi said...

I forgot to write....we are from Germany.

angel said...

its sad what our higher-ups are doing to us...

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