Malusi Gigaba. File picture: Timothy Bernard

Pretoria - South Africa requires a comprehensive immigration management policy which caters for economic migrants, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Thursday.

“We continue to think that international migration is a nuisance. We continue to think that international migrants, especially those from the African continent, can be combated. It cannot be,” he told reporters in Pretoria.

“We can shut down our borders, close our borders, seal the windows and live in South Africa on our own, accepting only those who land by planes from Europe and elsewhere. It cannot be.”

A comprehensive framework was needed to deal with international migration. He said immigrants would continue arriving in the country daily.

“The South African economy is the biggest in Africa. Forget everything you have heard. People want to come here and they do daily. Some do not have skills but are plain economic migrants,” he said.

This week, South Africa introduced new immigration regulations, drawing a clear distinction between short-stay visas and long-stay permanent residence permits.

Under the new dispensation, the word “visa” replaces the word “permit”, except for the permanent residence permit.