Letter from the CEO: January 2023

CEO Letter Jan 23

Dear valued clients and partners,

As we begin a new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. 2022 was a challenging year for us all, and I am proud of the resilience and determination shown by the IBN Immigration Solutions team.

A Busy Year of Obstacles

Despite the obstacles we faced – totally incompetent implementation of the centralisation of the adjudication, its reversal, 10-month long processing times for locally submitted applications, the acquisition of J Fetting Inc. and its implementation, the loss of two long standing staff members and the integration of new ones –we were able to continue providing the highest level of service to our clients and help them navigate the complex world of immigration.

Post-Covid Difficulties

It did not matter to whom I spoke, clients, network partners, fellow immigration specialists throughout the world: they all said that 2022 was their most challenging year ever. Too much work, too few staff, and high staff changes. I know owners of large relocation companies who did the look-and-see tour themselves again for the first time in many years. I wonder if Sweden had the same problems post-Covid since they basically had no Covid-related lockdowns. It would be interesting to hear about this; one finds no real data on it (at least not in the German or English media I read).

Our Case Management Software

We are committed to staying up to date with the latest developments and changes in immigration laws and regulations, and to providing our clients with the most accurate and timely information. We are also investing in new tools and systems to streamline our operations and make it easier for our clients to work with us.

IBN will start rolling out our new case management software from March 2023 onwards. Watch this space! It is cloud-based, provides access to HR and is fully GDPR (or POPI) compliant, and forces us to move away from email. I am already worried about the implementation, but all my colleagues in Europe who are already using our solution speak highly of it and encourage me to get my act together and just implement it.

Expanding Across Africa

We are excited to announce that we are looking to expand our services to even more African markets as well as growing our market share for emigrating outside Africa. I believe that there is a great opportunity to help more people navigate the immigration process, and we are committed to providing the same high level of service that our clients have come to expect. We do see an increase in interest in certain African markets; for us, Namibia is super-hot right now, and we have already been assisting large projects there.

The South African Reality

In addition, we need to hedge our South Africa exposure. All is not going well here at our home base. There is a direct correlation between the amount of loadshedding and emigration inquiries. I have mentioned this a few times before, but South Africa is losing a massive amount of talent and its immigration regime is doing nothing constructive to counterbalance the loss.

Zero, nada, nichts, nothing.

In fact, the adjudication quality has never even been that bad as it is now. 60% rejection rates for locally submitted applications seems to be the norm now. Whichever criteria or visa we look at; all discretion is used to make it more difficult. When is someone in the presidency waking up? You want renewal energy, you want foreign direct investment, you want Koeberg to be re-fuelled, etc. – you need to let foreign qualified labour into the country within reasonable time frames and with reasonable effort and predictable, consistent adjudication.

We have none of this now. Yes, the highest decisionmakers within the Department are aware of this, but it seems that with their current staff, a turnaround is not achievable.

Here is an idea for all the Visa services and consulates from countries such as the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and EU: Stop issuing any travel, work, family visa for one month to all South Africans! If we can’t get our nationals in, we can’t grant travel visas for yours. This might get the attention of the press and subsequently decision makers.

Appreciating Your Support

I want to thank you for your continued trust and support and for the positive (and occasionally negative) feedback we receive. We are honoured to be your partner in navigating the immigration process, and we look forward to working with you in the coming year.

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