Johannesburg - The deadline for public comment on draft regulations to the 2011 Immigration Amendment Act has been extended by a week, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said on Friday.

“We published the draft immigration regulations in the Government Gazette on 14 February 2014 and invited public comment by 28 February,” she said in a statement.

“We have decided to extend the public comment period for a week in response to requests. The closing date will now be Friday 7

March 2014.”

Under the current regulations there are about 14 different types of permits that cover all categories of people wishing to enter and live in South Africa on either a temporary or permanent basis.

“Under the new regulations the word 'visa' replaces the word 'permit', except for the permanent residence 'permit',” Pandor said.

This meant, for example, that a visitor's permit would now be called a visitor's visa and a work permit, a work visa.

“Under the new regulations there will be a clear distinction between short-stay visas and long-stay permanent residence permits,” she said.

Study permits would no longer have to be renewed annually as they would be issued for the duration of study.

In terms of business visas, the feasibility of the prospective business venture and the benefits it would have for the South African economy would be assessed before the visa was granted.

“This means that a recommendation from the department of trade and industry forms part of an application,” Pandor said.

The act also requires that the minister, together with the minister of trade and industry, gazettes a list of “undesirable businesses”.

“In this way, no business visa may be issued or renewed for a business that is on the list of undesirable businesses,” Pandor said.

Sapa