Estimates indicate that as much as 10% of all people living in South Africa are undocumented foreign nationals. The problem is not that citizens of other countries have chosen our country as their home, but rather that too many foreigners enter South Africa without following the legal process of immigration. The dysfunctionality at Home Affairs also results in many foreigners being unable to acquire the correct documentation for legal residency in South Africa.

We are concerned that the lack of documentation excludes individuals from participation in the formal economy and limits opportunities to access social support mechanisms. We must act as one against a broken immigration system and address the following challenges:

  • Insufficient immigration controls: the Department of Home Affairs is utterly incapable of dealing with the influx of immigrants, and accessing South Africa through the legal channels is prohibitively burdensome. Immigration laws are too strict, and a failure of political leadership has led to the deterioration of the administrative capacity of immigration authorities. Refugees and asylum-seekers do not receive the support required to integrate into South African society.
  • Burdensome immigration regulations: South Africa’s economic growth is hampered by how challenging it is for skilled immigrants to get working visas, which impacts on the country as an investment destination for international investors and reduces our ability to address skills deficits.
  • Porous borders: there are few to no physical barriers protecting South Africa’s sovereign borders and law enforcement lack the capacity required to patrol South Africa’s vast borders.
  • Lack of the rule of law: it is too easy to bribe officials for faked documents, and international crime syndicates operate freely across our borders.
  • Weak foreign policy: the South African government no longer stands up for human rights on the international stage, and turns a blind eye to human rights abuses. Deteriorating civil rights in our regional neighbours exacerbates illegal immigration as more people seek refuge in South Africa.

What We Believe

Our Solutions Blueprint

  • Strengthen border security by improving the physical infrastructure protecting our sovereign borders.
  • Improve how foreigners enter our country by decreasing the processing time at border entry points and ensuring that their first interaction with the South African government is a positive experience.
  • Reform the Department of Home Affairs by eradicating corruption, improving the performance of immigration officials and modernising immigration infrastructure.
  • Adopt technological advances to monitor our borders in real-time, provide specialist training to border officials and work closely with international organisations.
  • Clamp down on the influx of undocumented foreign nationals by strengthening border security.
  • Overhaul immigration regulations to streamline the process of legally migrating to South Africa, while limiting certain categories of jobs for South African citizens and ensuring a strict but fair immigration regime.
  • Attract skilled immigrants to help our economy grow, with a focus on teachers, scientists, medical professionals and entrepreneurs.
  • Capacitate immigration institutions to swiftly deal with the backlog of asylum applications and to assess and address the needs of refugees.
  • Relax the regulations for tourist visas, adopt an online visa-on-arrival system and improve the performance of embassies in states that have a high volume of South African-bound tourists.
  • Utilise international mechanisms such as SADC, the AU and the UN to be a champion for human rights in Africa.
  • Work closely with regional partners to ensure the safe and dignified return of immigrants deported from South Africa.