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Applying for Refugee Status in South Africa

Refugee Status in South Africa - Explained

There are loads of people living in South Africa who comes here from all over the world and they come here for different reasons. If you want to see a doctor at a clinic, go to a hospital, study something or get a job in South Africa, you need to be able to prove that you are in fact in the country legally. If you are visiting SA for a holiday or have come here to work, you will need to be in possession of a visa. If you are in the country because you were forced to leave your own country, it is possible that you could qualify for refugee status.

What does ‘refugee status’ mean?

What this term means is that the person who is given refugee status will be protected by the SA government and may not be forced to go back home until it can be proven that it is in fact safe for them to go back to their country. This status is designed to help people who are in danger in their home country. If you do get this status, you are entitled to most of the same rights that SA citizens have, but you are not allowed to vote.

Who is allowed to apply for refugee status?




South African law states that anyone who can present evidence that they are in danger in their home country may apply for refugee status, provided that is for one of the following reasons. They need to have been persecuted because of their

  • Tribe
  • Nationality Race
  • Religion
  • Membership of any social group (where anyone is persecuted because of their sexual orientation etc)
  • Political opinion

People can also be granted refugee status if there is war happening in their country. If you do end up applying for refugee status, you need to be able to prove that your life was really in danger and that it is not safe for you to return home.

Should you have come to South Africa for any other reason, you will not be able to apply for refugee status and will need to apply for a visa instead. This is where New World Immigration can assist you in getting all the nitty gritty sorted out.

By Robbie Ragless

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