Nationals of South Africa and Botswana will now need a visa to travel to Ireland.

The new visa regime takes effect from today.

Ireland was the last EU country that South Africans and Batswana people did not need visas to travel to.

The Irish justice minister, Helen McEntee, was quoted as saying: “This is a carefully considered decision which will bring Ireland into closer alignment with the Schengen area in respect of both countries, and into line with the UK in respect of South Africa.”

She also said that in recent years, increasing number of Botswanan and South African passport holders had applied for refugee status in Ireland. It is likely that many of these people are not from South Africa or Botswana and are travelling on fraudulent or illegally obtained documents.

Currently the South African passport is ranked the 52nd most powerful in the world, with visa-free access to just over 100 territories.

[Image: Ida from Pixabay]