Proposed amendments to Immigration Act will save jobs – James Vos

The recently tabled Draft First Amendment of the Immigration Regulations made under the Immigration Act by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), does nothing to address the loss of jobs in the tourism industry, including concerns raised by the tourism industry, government departments and opposition parties.

The Draft First Amendment is nothing more than a half-hearted attempt to address the serious problems with the current regulations and will result in the ultimate contraction of the tourism industry.

The reality is that no material changes will be affected by the error-ridden Draft. Rather, the wording of a few provisions have lazily been shifted around, in what can only be seen as an attempt to create the illusion of the DHA’s willingness to engage with criticism of its policies.

The contentious requirement that parents traveling to South Africa with their children must produce an unabridged birth certificate (UBC) has not been removed. Rather than actually change the regulations, it seems that the Department only reorganised the clauses, whilst the requirements essentially stay the same.

 

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DHA reduces requirements to obtain more Lesotho Special Permits

On 27 September 2016, the DHA announced that Lesotho nationals may now apply for the Lesotho Special Permits (LSP) at the VFS application centres without their passports.

Lesotho nationals are still able to apply for the Lesotho Special Permit physically at the DHA offices till 31 December 2016, as the online applications have closed 30 September 2016. However, it is being considered that the online applications might get an extended time frame.

Prior to this new announcement, Lesotho nationals were required to have a valid passport that had to be valid for four years, or a travel document with a Lesotho ID number in order to get permission to stay in South Africa legally.

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DHA reduces requirements to obtain more Lesotho Special Permits

On 27 September 2016, the DHA announced that Lesotho nationals may now apply for the Lesotho Special Permits (LSP) at the VFS application centres without their passports.

Lesotho nationals are still able to apply for the Lesotho Special Permit physically at the DHA offices till 31 December 2016, as the online applications have closed 30 September 2016. However, it is being considered that the online applications might get an extended time frame.

Prior to this new announcement, Lesotho nationals were required to have a valid passport that had to be valid for four years, or a travel document with a Lesotho ID number in order to get permission to stay in South Africa legally.

Since a passport is no longer required, the following requirements need to be met by applicants in order to obtain a Lesotho Special Permit:

  • Have a Lesotho ID card and be registered on the National Population Register of Lesotho.
  • A police clearance certificate from Lesotho of a Lesotho national who have been in South Africa for less than 12 months. The police clearance should not be older than 6 months.
  • There will be no need to apply for a South African Police Clearance Certificate as the DHA in South Africa will obtain these certificates on behalf of all the Lesotho Special Permit applicants.
  • Proof of employment or an affidavit from the employer to be submitted by the applicant in order to be issued with a Lesotho Special Work Permit.
  • Supporting documents or letters from the applicant’s employer or school to support the applicant’s residency prior to 30 September 2015, if the applicant wishes to register with an educational institution.

The special dispensation is for Lesotho nationals who are working, studying or running businesses in The Republic of South Africa and have been in the country in such capacity prior to 30 September 2016.

It needs to be noted that any South African documents that may have been fraudulently obtained, need to be surrendered to the DHA offices in order to receive an amnesty letter. Those who wish to comply will also be able to apply for the Lesotho Special Permits.

Applicants who have submitted their applications, but have not done their payments yet; have also received an extension to make their payments by 31 December 2016.

To avoid deportation, Lesotho nationals must ensure to regularise their stay before the end of December 2016.

Notice from the DHA on obtaining a South African Police Clearance Certificate

From 1 October 2016 applicants are no longer required to go to the South African Police Station in order to obtain a South African Police Clearance Certificates. The process of obtaining a South African Police Clearance Certificate will be automated, the VFS office will run background checks of the applicants by use of their biometrics against the SAPS database (a fee of R175 will be charged). Once the electronic South African Police Clearance Certificate has been received, the VFS will combine the visa application along with the certificate and transfer the completed application to the DHA electronically.

Click here for a full statement from the DNA Click here for a copy of the DHA Directive

 

 

 

Notice from the DHA on obtaining a South African Police Clearance Certificate

From 1 October 2016 applicants are no longer required to go to the South African Police Station in order to obtain a South African Police Clearance Certificates. The process of obtaining a South African Police Clearance Certificate will be automated, the VFS office will run background checks of the applicants by use of their biometrics against the SAPS database (a fee of R175 will be charged). Once the electronic South African Police Clearance Certificate has been received, the VFS will combine the visa application along with the certificate and transfer the completed application to the DHA electronically.

Click here for a copy of the DHA Directive

Draft Amendment to the Immigration Regulations 2014

The Department of Home Affairs (“DHA”) invites public comments on the draft First Amendment of the Immigration Regulations, 2014.

Written submissions should reach the DHA on or before 14 October 2016.

Click here for a copy of the Draft Amendment

High Court ruling – Holders of asylum seeker & refugees permits may now apply for the relevant immigration permits and visas

The much anticipated ruling on Immigration Directive 21 of 2015, barring Refugees and Asylum seekers from applying for a change of status to any visa or permit in terms of the Immigration Act, was handed down by in the High Court of South Africa on 21 September 2016. It has been declared that Directive 21 is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic and therefore invalid and must be set aside.

The judgement further clarifies that  even  failed asylum seekers must be permitted to apply for a visa by affording them the same opportunity as illegal  foreigners in section 32 where allowing individuals to approach the Director-General  for authorisation to apply for a visa.

Click here for a copy of the High Court Judgement

The Importance of South African Permanent Residency to your Expatriate / Human Resource Strategy

The work permit process can be time consuming and even painful, depending on your permit categorisation. One question often asked is whether an expatriate should not consider Permanent Residency application sooner, effectively lifting the expatriate’s status above the noise of normal work permit requirements. We found that there can be a significant upside however, depending on the complexities there may also be adverse consequences.

Why Permanent Residency?

Permanent Residency allows the holder to live and work in South Africa unlimited including the right to work without restriction, engage in business, own property, study and do all things a citizen is permitted to do with the exception of voting in the South African elections. You may only do so once you have been naturalised as a South African citizen. Permanent Residency in South Africa also allows its holder maximum flexibility with regards to entry and exit through the country’s borders. Read more

Draft Amendment to the Immigration Regulations 2014

The Department of Home Affairs (“DHA”) invites public comments on the draft First Amendment of the Immigration Regulations, 2014.

Written submissions should reach the DHA on or before 14 October 2016.

Click here for a copy of the High Court Judgement

High Court ruling – Holders of asylum seeker & refugees permits may now apply for the relevant immigration permits and visas

The much anticipated ruling on Immigration Directive 21 of 2015, barring Refugees and Asylum seekers from applying for a change of status to any visa or permit in terms of the Immigration Act, was handed down by in the High Court of South Africa on 21 September 2016. It has been declared that Directive 21 is inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic and therefore invalid and must be set aside.

The judgement further clarifies that  even  failed asylum seekers must be permitted to apply for a visa by affording them the same opportunity as illegal  foreigners in section 32 where allowing individuals to approach the Director-General  for authorisation to apply for a visa.

Click here for a copy of the High Court Judgement