Retirement Visas: Government works hard to prevent our economy from growing
- The last three years, South Africa has lost 499 retirement visa opportunities, resulting in the economy’s potential loss of approximately R18.5 million per month.
- A 12-month processing time for retirement visa applications discourages applicants, leading them to explore alternative options in competing countries.
Replies to official questions I submitted to the Minister of Home Affairs reveal that in the last 3 financial years and this year to date (from 1 April 2023), we have lost 499 retirement visa opportunities, which potentially translates into at least a loss to our economy of just under R18 500 000.00 per month, or over R221 500 00.00 annually.
Retirement visas allow retired persons who are financially stable to reside in South Africa. These individuals enjoy their retirement years financed with strong currencies such as the Euro and the Dollar.
The Minister’s replies to my questions reveal that it takes approximately 12 months for Home Affairs to process a retirement visa. This excessive delay in processing applications discourages applicants who then seek alternatives in other countries we are competing with.
Foreign retirees contribute to our economy with no financial burden to South Africa as a country, but maximum return for our economy. They have substantial funds to emigrate to South Africa and have significant spending power which can only benefit South Africa and its economy.
This is yet another example of how this government is losing excellent opportunities to gain but choose to view such applications with suspicion. SA is indeed an attractive place for retirement for many foreigners who spend locally without being a threat by competing for local jobs.
Clearly, there must be verification checks to ensure that desirable applicants are approved, however it is unacceptable that applications are rejected because forms are incomplete or filled in incorrectly – as indicated in replies by the Minister.
While we should be welcoming the applicants with open arms, there is clearly no attempt by Home Affairs to assist applicants to complete required forms and processes correctly.
I will be submitting additional questions on this matter, enquiring how Home Affairs plans to improve this situation.
Manny de Freitas MP
DA Shadow Minister of Tourism
082 788 6824