New World Immigration has gone into much detail about South Africa’s, sometimes controversial immigration laws, but we decided to summarize how these changes will affect you and your business.
Global employers should take special note of specifically these new laws:
New Sponsorship Requirements.
South Africa now requires all companies that employ visa holders to maintain the following on file:
• a certified copy of the foreigner’s passport
• a copy of the visa or permanent residency permit
• proof of the capacity in which the foreigner is or was employed
• a copy of the foreigner’s IRP5 form or certificate of earnings and job description, respectively.
First-time visa applicants must apply overseas
In one of the biggest changes causing the most outrage South Africa will no longer accept change of status applications from visitor’s visa holders. This means that foreign nationals in South Africa on one of the short-stay visas must apply for their visas at the South African Embassy or Consulate in their home country or a country where they are a resident.
New rules for dependents, spouses and life partners
The new regulations require an applicant to prove the relationship has existed for at least two years prior to the visa application, whereas before this would not have been deemed necessary. This might mean proof of co-habitation and shared financial responsibilities. According to the specifications of the new non-married partners will need to attend separate interviews to determine their relationship’s authenticity.
Overstaying your visa is a criminal offence on a national level
Gone are the days where those who overstayed the conditions of their visas could rely on just paying their habitual fine. South Africa is taking a much tougher stance on foreigner overstaying their visa dates. Now, foreigners who remain in South Africa beyond the expiration of their visas, may be declared “undesirable” and denied entry into South Africa – which could be for as long as five years. Foreigners may become undesirable even if they have a visa extension application pending. Employers may need to send their employees out of the country to avoid this harmful designation for their expat employees.
New employer requirements for General Work Visas
Employers are required to obtain a certificate from the Department of Labour to sponsor a foreigner for this visa and will forthwith have to agree to:
• pay for costs related to deportation of the foreigner
• ensure that the foreigner has a valid passport at all times
• inform the Director General of Home Affairs if the foreigner is no longer employed.
The foreigner must have worked for the related company abroad for at least six months. The duration of the Intra-company Transfer Work Visa increased from two to four years, but it cannot be extended.