Another month has passed without any significant changes here in South Africa. After my political contribution last month, I am excited to update you, in this edition, on what is keeping us busy at IBN.
We have been using the past few weeks to address important internal matters. I have to say that my team is really trying hard to implement these measures. During April and May most of our staff had minimal hours. Unfortunately, this month, we were forced to reduce the hours even more drastically. However, compared to other immigration companies in South Africa, we are still paying our employees and we value their continued contribution.
So, what are we focusing on? One main focus is marketing. Previously, with my work commitments I could not give this my full attention. With the lockdown and travel ban, I have been able to collaborate with a number of partners in the immigration industry and strengthen IBN’s presence as a leading immigration company.
I was able to deliver webinars hosted by the Spanish and German Chamber of Commerce and do a podcast series with the leading law firm Weber Wenzel as part of their expert panel.
Another major focus is the extension of our services. We are currently collecting data to help us understand the needs of persons in South Africa and Africa and which countries outside Africa they are interested in. Strategically, we will continue to work with local multinational companies for our South African and African work. My personal view is that private emigration will increase considerably, in future years and we have the expertise to play a role in this market.
In addition to this, we had our quarterly rocks meeting and worked on the practical implementation of a case management software. We have also updated our training library with fantastic content, mostly in video format, and countless other things. Personally, the hardest part is having to be patient and wait for the government to make a move. I cannot determine the future of IBN and since it depends largely on what the government does, is frustrating. But we are utilizing the time effectively to emerge from the crisis with a stronger business.
So, looking forward, what will July bring?
I do think that the VFS offices in South Africa, will open during July. Based on my most recent engagement with the Department of Home Affairs, it also looks like VIPs of multinational companies might be allowed to re-enter South Africa, most likely in early July. I have submitted suggestions to the Minister of Home Affairs in which I have suggested opening the borders in stages.
From my engagement with the Department of Home Affairs, as well as the Department of Trade and Industry, it is apparent that both departments see the challenges. They are willing to provide a solution even if it is limited to certain sectors.
Personally, a higher sense of urgency would be a plus but I am certain that is something that will not substantially change during July.
The fact that during July Dubai, the Member States and the US will open their borders to third country nationals, shows strong indication that we are moving in the right direction.
In conclusion, we remain hopeful that we will be able to return to a sense of normality soon, but a little more patience is required.
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By Andreas Krensel