The South African organ of state that deals with immigration matters is known as the Department of Home Affairs, or, more simply, Home Affairs, as locals call it. The South African Department of Home Affairs is a government department in charge of all immigration legislation, application processing and general immigration administration. This is among a multitude of other powers and duties not relevant to the services that ImmigrationSouthAfrica.org offers (such as internal SA home affairs).
The Department of Home Affairs issues permits and visas and decides on who may enter South Africa, what they may do and for how long. The most relevant piece of South African immigration legislation is the Immigration Act (Act 13 of 2002) with the latest Immigration Regulations (May 2014). The Act sets out the requirements for the various visas that are available to immigrants, and the regulations describe how the Act will practically be carried out.
Therefore, the South African Department of Home Affairs’ offices have the authority to grant visas and allow people into South Africa. As you will read consistently on this site, South Africa is one of the top immigration, expatriate and travel destinations in the world, and there are numerous expatriate surveys which prove this. Currently, the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No 13 of 2002) aims to facilitate and simplify the application and issuing process of visas, as well as regulate immigrants by making sure they adhere to certain criteria.
In order to aid itself in administering the applications of many people wishing to immigrate to South Africa, the department previously allowed for the registering of professional immigration practitioners, who were given power of attorney by prospective clients to prepare, submit and monitor their visa applications. In other words, the Department of Home Affairs preferred people to submit proper applications, and one way of ensuring this was to have immigration service consultants and companies to assist immigrants.
This is no longer the case, informally since 2009 when the immigration practitioners examination ended, and formally since May 2014 when the new immigration regulations ended the abilities of these practitioners. The main reason cited was that the public was not being served correctly or positively by the majority of these practitioners. Thus, it was become a situation of
If you are going to use an immigration services company to apply for your immigration visa, choose carefully and make sure they have all of the following:
(1) South African
(4) actually employed in their company.
Anyone or any company representing you and accepting your grant of power of attorney must be a qualified South African lawyer, specialising in immigration law. Without any of these four items, you may as well apply on your own without paying for any services. When applying for an immigration visa or permit, it is considered a legal application. Should something go wrong, you will require legal backing to speed things up and correct the situation.