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Ireland implements Visa requirements for South Africa and Botswana


Starting next week, citizens of Botswana and South Africa planning to travel to Ireland will need to obtain a visa, as announced by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Previously, travelers from these countries could enter Ireland without a visa, given their designation as safe countries of origin.

The decision comes in response to a notable rise in international protection applications from Botswana and South Africa, as highlighted by the Department of Justice. Despite not being among the top five nationalities seeking protection in Ireland (which include Nigeria, Jordan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Somalia), the influx of applications has prompted this policy change.

Minister McEntee emphasized that this adjustment aligns Ireland more closely with the Schengen Area’s visa policies and brings it in line with the UK’s requirements for South African travelers. She underscored the government’s commitment to balancing effective immigration controls with facilitating travel for purposes such as visits, work, study, or family reunification.

To accommodate the new visa requirement, the Dublin visa office will establish a specialized “South Africa desk” to process applications from South African nationals. Additionally, the Department of Foreign Affairs plans to set up three visa application centers across South Africa in partnership with Global VFS.

The policy shift is part of broader measures introduced by the Irish government to manage a significant increase in asylum seekers arriving in the country. This includes an expedited processing period for asylum applications, particularly for nationals of Nigeria, currently the leading nationality among asylum seekers.

Furthermore, increased enforcement measures have been implemented, resulting in arrests and convictions of individuals arriving without proper documentation. Border checks have been intensified, particularly along the Northern Ireland border, in response to a rise in people using routes through Britain and Northern Ireland to enter Ireland illegally.

Minister McEntee reiterated that visa requirements are subject to ongoing review, reflecting Ireland’s commitment to maintaining robust immigration controls while facilitating legitimate travel and immigration objectives.

In other news – Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu to remain in prison for another week

ZANU-PF central committee member and businessman Mike Chimombe and Moses Mpofu will remain in custody for an additional week following their court appearance before Harare regional magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa. They are facing charges of defrauding the government of more than US$7 million under the Presidential Goat Scheme. The decision on their bail application has been postponed until July 16.

Defence counsel Tapson Dzvetero argued that the arrest of Chimombe and Mpofu is politically motivated, a claim contested by Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s lead investigating officer Henry Chapwanya, who emphasized the commission’s apolitical stance. Read More

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