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 Department of Home Affairs issues permits and visas and decides on who may enter South Africa, and for how long. The relevant piece of South African legislation is the Immigration Act (Act 13 of 2002). The Act sets out the requirements for the various permits that are available to immigrants.
Therefore, the South African Department of Home Affairs’ offices have the authority to grant permits 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 permits, as well as regulate immigrants by making sure they adhere to certain criteria.
In addition to Home Affairs, there are various immigration practitioners who are registered with the Department and who assist immigrants in putting together their applications for the specific type of permit that they need. In making use of such a practitioner, you are essentially giving them power of attorney to act on your behalf in South Africa, so make sure that they are legitimate and that they are genuinely registered with the Department. The Department allows this type of practitioner registration so as to ease the load of the many applications for residence that are received every year. It is in the interests of both the Department and the applicant to lodge complete applications that contain all the necessary information, and so an immigration practitioner’s assistance can be invaluable.
Home Affairs has aided itself in administering the applications of many people wishing to immigrate to South Africa, registering these professional immigration practitioners, who are given power of attorney by prospective clients to prepare, submit and monitor their permit applications. In other words, the Department of Home Affairs prefers people to submit proper applications, and one way of ensuring this is to have immigration service consultants and companies to assist immigrants.
Anyone wishing to register as an immigration practitioner if required to undergo an examination set by the Department’s Director General, and also meet other strict criteria, such as police clearance, and a commitment to the Departmental code of conduct. When selecting an immigration practitioner to assist you, you are within your rights to ask to see their certificate of registration, and it is also wise to do some research on their reputation and current client base.
If you are going to use an immigration services company to apply for your immigration permit, choose carefully and make sure they have registered immigration practitioners on board. You may ask to see a copy of the certificate issued by Home Affairs. Contact ImmigrationSouthAfrica.org if you are unsure – use the Email form or send us a query to firstname.lastname@example.org.