As you may have read on the Internet, the Department of Home Affairs would like to makes some changes regarding the immigration legislation, and has already made a few steps in certain directions. This would mean that a new Bill will be drafted and set out for the public to view and comment upon in the near future.
So why does this affect you as an immigrant to South Africa?
Well, the first change in the Bill that is purported to be included is that Immigration Practitioners are to be taken away. Although that sounds like it is the end of them forever, apparently it simply means that they become a lot more regulated than currently. While ImmigrationSouthAfrica.org has noticed in the past that some practitioners have made false promises, and can therefore understand somewhat why Home Affairs would want to limit them, one also feels that Home Affairs has much to answer for. At least on this front, things will carry on as they always have, although currently there is a moratorium on the Immigration Practitioners examination.
Nevertheless, should you be immigrating to South Africa currently, be aware that your application process will definitely be delayed somewhat. Speak to us at ImmigrationSouthafrica.org for more information. Also, if you require a new permit, an extension or change of permit for your employee, family or yourself, to contact us to take the above-described delays into account.
Changes in terms of landing a temporary residence into a new passport now take a lot longer, up to 4 weeks in many cases, and not the usual one day as before. This is critical for all those whose passports are expiring.
One very positive development is that most offices of Home Affairs are currently issuing what is called a Form 20, which provides an applicant whose previous permit has expired with proof that he/she is legally in the country whilst waiting for the outcome of the application. This is critical due to the delays, but bear in mind that one still has to wait for the actual permit before conducting business or working.
Also, in light of the serious backlogs, the immigration staff at the airports have largely stopped issuing fines to persons leaving the country without valid permits, if they can prove that they have made an application for renewal or change more than 30 days prior to departure.
All in all, there are many changes that are not mentioned here, but the scene is becoming somewhat more regulated and possibly better. The current delays, however, have put a big blister on an otherwise bright immigration situation.
Let us know about your current situations and how you are experiencing Home Affairs and their service in this period of change.