New policy will overhaul migration system in SA: Motsoaledi

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Home Affairs Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi says once the White Paper on Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugee Protection has been signed into law, it will discourage economic immigrants from entering South Africa pretending to be asylum seekers.

Motsoaledi briefed the media on the Final White Paper in Pretoria, this afternoon. Last week, cabinet approved the final paper.

He says the new policy would completely overhaul the migration system in South Africa.

People are forced to flee their home countries due to lack of economic opportunities, natural disasters, conflicts, and pandemics.

Minister Motsoaledi says some foreign nationals take advantage of gaps in the current Citizenship, Immigration, and Refugee laws in South Africa.

He says the first safe country principle must be strictly applied.

” Why do we pass if I may ask you directly? Because it was asked in Parliament, why do people pass so many safe countries? To specifically come to South Africa, why can’t it be a policy that once you pass through a safe country, that’s where you must apply for asylum? The Afghan citizens who came via Beit Bridge and the matter even went to court. They first went to Pakistan. They left and went to Qatar. They left and went to Zimbabwe. Then they left and went to Zambia, but it’s only in South Africa where they are applying for asylum.”

Motsoaledi says legislation must be introduced to strengthen the powers of immigration officers and make training compulsory.

“The majority of members of the inspectorate must have legal qualifications and policing. The recent publication of the National Labour Migration policy, introducing quotas for employment of foreign nationals, will go a long way in defusing simmering tensions between South African citizens and foreign nationals. When the Immigration Act was enacted, provision was made for the establishment of immigration courts.”

Motsoaledi says the bill will be introduced in Parliament soon.