Government has introduced a new visa regime that will initially see nationals from a majority of Sadc member States getting into the country without a visa. These include Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.Nationals from 58 countries outside Sadc will now apply for visa at the port of entry on payment of the requisite fees.
According to the new visa regime, nationals of 120 countries will still be required to obtain visas prior to travelling. Addressing a Press conference in Harare recently, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said the Immigration Department introduced the new requirements to facilitate ease of doing business and free movement into the country.
“In order to facilitate the ease of doing business and free movement of people into the country, the Government has revised the current visa regime,” he said. “A new visa regime is now in place. An announcement will be made at an appropriate time by relevant authorities.”
Minister Chombo said the Immigration Department was nominated the most improved organisation in the 2015 Contract Centre Association of Zimbabwe Service Excellence Awards after it embarked on various initiatives to improve service delivery.
He said the Immigration Department had embarked on a computerisation of its major ports of entry and exit to reduce the waiting period for travellers. “This culminated in reducing the clearing time from the previous seven minutes to three minutes per traveller for those who do not require visas. For those who require visas the waiting time has been reduced from 10 to four minutes,” said Minister Chombo. “You will agree with me that such developments simplifies travelling.”
Government is in the process of amending various legislation in line with best practices. It is also moving fast to facilitate foreign direct investment by providing a conducive atmosphere for investors. In the interim, investors at hand and those to come are being helped by an inter-agency platform coordinated by the Office of the President and Cabinet.
The country recently moved 16 places up on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index as the economy warms up to Government initiatives. A World Bank report showed that Zimbabwe is now ranked at 155 of 189 countries on the Ease of Doing Business index.
According to the report, titled “Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency”, Zimbabwe moved 11 places to 79 from 90 in respect of getting credit and six places to 81 in terms of protecting minority investors out of 189 countries.