Many more Saffas visited New Zealand despite stricter visa conditions. It seems that newly enforced visa conditions, requiring travellers to obtain a visa before departing for NZ, are not scaring off South African’s visiting the country.
The ending of the visa waiver agreement between South Africa and New Zealand was a surprise announcement late last year and ultimately lead to reciprocal actions by our own Department of Home Affairs meaning New Zealanders would now also need a visa before attempting to enter the Republic.
Figures published by Statistics New Zealand show 2,144 South African nationals visited the country in November, an increase of 448, or 26 percent, on the same month a year earlier.
On 21 November 2016, Immigration New Zealand ended its visa waiver programme for South Africans, citing the increased number who had been refused entry to New Zealand because they were not genuine visitors.
The New Zealand Government attributed certain factors which led them to the decision to withdraw the visa waiver arrangements for South African passport holders. It listed as among the factors the number of South African visitors who exploit the visa waiver arrangement to visit family and friends in New Zealand, as opposed to travelling to New Zealand for tourism or business purposes, the number of South African visitors who had overstayed the three months visa waiver limit or who did not return to South Africa, and the number of South African travellers who had been refused entry at the New Zealand border due to counterfeit or fraudulently obtained South African passports.
Previously, South African passport holders travelling to New Zealand for less than three months on business, as tourists, to visit friends or relatives or for short-term study under three months, were not required to apply for a visa before they travel as they qualified for a visa on arrival.
The new visa regulations came into effect on 21 November this year, and now requires South Africans to pay NZ$165.00 (about R1 637.07 at R9.92/NZ$), to visit the country.