A recent agreement between the Commercial Producers Association of South Africa and the Department of Home Affairs promises to allay some of the concerns faced by SA’s advertising sector. Amendments to national immigration policy last year had stakeholders of the television and film industry apprehensive over losses in international revenue on account of onerous visa approval requirements. The compromise however, is set to alleviate lengthy administrative processes for individuals hailing from visa exempt countries such as the United Kingdom and USA.
What the new agreement is all about
The agreement, designed specifically for teams coming to South Africa to produce television commercials, makes provision for two categories of advertising professionals, namely those offering “oversight”, as well as “specialists”. The former describes individuals who are not directly working within the Republic but rather operate in a more organizational capacity, whereas the latter entails more active participation in the commercial itself, such as actors and directors. Those falling within the “oversight” category can now receive their visitor’s visa upon entry into South Africa, and can forego having to pre-apply at an embassy beforehand. ‘Specialists’ however, must still apply in their home country prior to entering the country, but are offered the benefit of an expedited turn-around time on their application (a maximum of five working days).
According to the CPA’s Executive Officer Bobby Amm, “A significant element of the agreement is the recognition of the role played by Industry Associations . . . which has essentially enabled the CPA, along with partners SAASP and NAMA, to become involved in the process by endorsing applications made by reputable clients and service companies. This introduces an element of self-regulation which will enable the associations to have a stronger working relationship with Home Affairs and make recommendations to them.”
Possible effects on sectors
The effects of the agreement on prospective international business remain to be seen. The compromise however, serves as a positive indication of the willingness the DHA have to engage in dialogue with sectors that may feel hard done by after the introduction of the amended immigration policies.
For more information, see the full press release here.
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