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South Africa - students
After a lawsuit against the South African government and nearly a two-year dispute, Education South Africa (EduSA), South Africa’s association for English language schools has achieved a landmark win on behalf the country’s English Foreign Language (EFL) industry.

Chairman of EduSA Johannes Kraus says “this marks a defining moment in our industry, as it allows us to grow our meagre 1% share of the multi-billion dollar global EFL market.”

In May 2014, the government implemented changes to its immigration framework which currently means that students wanting to travel to South Africa for the purpose of studying English as a foreign language do not qualify for a student visa.

The existing regulations only allow for study visas to be issued to students enrolling at ‘learning institutions’.  However, EduSA’s member schools did not meet the requirements of this definition, which led to EduSA’s legal action.

The foreign student market provides significant economic benefit to South Africa and according to EduSA, these restrictive regulatory conditions saw a heavy decrease in student enrolments between 2014 and 2015, declining by 37%.

However, following EduSA’ amicable settlement with the Departments of Home Affairs and Higher Education, South Africa’s EFL industry is celebrating the government’s announcement of a ministerial exemption for students who are studying at one of EduSA’s 22 member schools to be issued visas to study for up to 18 months and looking forward to turning the decline around.

WYSE Travel Confederation’s Director General David Chapman says “I extend my sincere congratulations to Johannes Kraus and his team at EduSA for this tremendous achievement.  South Africa is a beautiful and unique destination and I am delighted to see that the South African government has recognised the immense benefits of easing its visa regulations so that more international students can learn English in their country.”