The new immigration law and its eventual regulations are ever closer to coming into effect. The year 2014 will see many with plans to immigrate to South Africa having to change those plans or in certain cases actually even move, delay or cancel them.
As we learn more and more from the Department of Home Affairs, whom we are very close to and speak with every day, the following has now clearly become apparent.
- Visas (e.g. tourist) will in future be called “port of entry visas and transit visas”
- Temporary residence permits will in future be called “visas”
- Visas (including visitor’s visas) must be applied for in person and from the applicant’s home country. Applications for extensions and renewals of visas may be made from within SA
- Holders of visitors visas and medical treatment visas may not apply for a different visa from within the country
- Fingerprints are required from all visa applicants
- Stricter measures to combat child trafficking
- Undertakings to submit police clearance certificates within 6 months after issuance no longer accepted
- Exceptional skills permits no long exist. Freelancing sports stars, entertainers, musicians and other individuals with unique skills, which are not listed as “critical” have few options for long-stay visas.
- Advertisements in national print media no longer required for general work permit applications, but a report must be obtained from the Department of Labour
- Intra-company transfer visas now issued for up to four years, instead of two
- No more immigration practitioners
- Habitual overstayers can be banned from future visas
- Life partners to prove relationship exists for 5 years already
The final change indicates that the famous Life Partner (Type: Relative’s) Permit will still exist as the Relative’s (Life Partner) visa, but that applicants will have to prove that they have lived together for a full 5 years prior to the application. Surely this is some sort of oversight from the Department of Home Affairs, but unfortunately it is now a regulation to the Immigration Act. Those in shorter relationships with a South African life partner will have to accompany their life partner into the country.
Whatever your situation, there is always a means and a way to plan ahead and immigrate into South Africa. Contact us if you are unsure about anything whatsoever.