The South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has released its Green Paper on International Migration for public consultation. The public were invited to submit their comments in response to the Green Paper by the 30th of September 2016. Details on this process, and the Green Paper itself can be found on the Department of Home Affairs’ website or here [PDF Download].
The DA Abroad submitted our comments on the 30 September – the full response can be read here.
Our interest in the Green Paper on International Migration
As global South Africans who have chosen to work, study, travel and live abroad we are aware of the positive benefits that can be gained through travel – these benefits don’t only apply to the individual, but also to all whom we come into contact with as the interaction between cultures develops learning, understanding and tolerance. The countries we immigrate to benefit from our skills, talents and labour, and when we return, South Africa benefits from the knowledge and skills we have gained while abroad. Not all who left do return, but even if we choose to remain abroad we still look for opportunities to continue investing in South African through financial investments and business partnerships.
It is thus with some frustration that we continually experience negative sentiment from those in South Africa who view the diaspora as having “abandoned” their country. This is not always the case, and there are many South Africans abroad who are proud of our heritage and very positive about the future of our country. We are eager to contribute to South Africa, while also gaining the benefits of international travel.
So, it is with some interest that we have read the Green Paper on International Migration in South Africa by the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA), and subsequently have chosen to submit comment. We are indeed pleased to see that the DHA has identified the potential of the South African diaspora and is open to identifying opportunities to better engage with us, and harness this potential.
A section of the Green Paper focused on the “Management of ties with SA expatriates” and as the DA’s official overseas network, and as South African expats, we thought it would be important for us to submit a response on this matter.
Our comments not only aim to guide this development, but also input on other areas of the Green Paper. taking care to mantain a position of inclusiveness (including for South Africans abroad), the security of personal liberties (and human rights) and a strong market based economy.
We look forward to working together with the DHA in furthering these ambitions and as such, have provided the comments below in response to the Green Paper on International Migration as part of a public consultation process.
Summary of Comments on the “Management of ties with SA expatriates”
You’ll note within the section on South African expatratiates that we have included, amongst other things, specific comment about a number of issues affecting the diaspora:
- Poor engagement with the diaspora by South African missions abroad
- Poor performance and service deliver by South African consular offices
- The fact that Registration of South Africans Abroad (ROSA) system (which is essential service allowing South Africans abroad to register and be contacted by the South African government to offer urgent advice on a natural disaster or civil unrest or a family emergency.) has been unavailable for a considerable amount of time
- The issue around retention of South African citizenship when applying for foreign citizenship, and the subsequent unknowing loss of citizenship that many South Africans citizens experience due to poor communication and a wieldy beauracratic process
- The potential for UK/SA visa waiver, in addition to the same for other countries.
To download and read the DA Abroad full response to the Green Paper submitted on the 30 September, click here.