Government, through the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, seeks to address issues of foreign investors work and residents by tabling an Immigration (Amendment) Bill of 2016.
According to the memorandum published late last year, the objective of the Bill is to amend the Immigration Act in order to empower the Minister to grant the status of permanent residence to non-citizens in less than five years.
Minister Edwin Batshu wants to be empowered to grant the status of permanent residence to non-citizens who are investors and have resided in Botswana lawfully for a period of less than five years in order to promote job creation and encourage foreign investment.
“Under the proposed amendment, such status may also be extended to a non-citizen investor’s spouse and minor children,” reads part of the memorandum.
“The bill is self-explanatory and is motivated by the need to spur the country’s potential in attracting investors into the country,” explained Batshu in a telephone interview with Voice Money early this week.
Batshu said the bill is currently under debate in the national assembly following its tabling towards the end of last month. He added that Section 28 of the Immigration Act is amended by inserting immediately after subsection (2) three new subsections.
Notwithstanding subsections (1) an (2), the Minister wants to be granted powers to confer he status of permanent residence on a non-citizen who has resided lawfully in Botswana for a period of less than five years when the minister is satisfied that the non-citizen has established a significant business in Botswana.
Furthermore, Batshu is lobbying for full powers to grant permanent residence in less than five years upon being satisfied that the non-citizen intends to establish a significant business in Botswana or is intending to make a significant investment in an existing business in Botswana.
Early last year, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) officials approached the government, urging it to introduce a visa quota system for potential foreign investors.
BITC’s Executive Director of Strategy and Competitions, Keletsositse Olebile then told Voice Money that his belief is that a change in the way visas are allocated will benefit the country greatly, as it will make investing in Botswana decidedly easier – becoming a more attractive proposition for potential investors looking to set up businesses here.