In an official statement Cabinet highlighted that the purpose of “Operation Fiela” was to root out illegal weapons, drug dens, prostitution rings, undocumented migrants, human trafficking, and general lawlessness.
To date a total of 889 arrests have been made and of this figure 745 people were arrested for being in the country illegally.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said as part of this operation immigration inspectorates would be deployed to various business to ensure that their foreign employees comply with the new migration rules. Non-compliant businesses could face prosecution and the undocumented staff deportation.
In light of this operation, it has become imperative for business to ensure that all their employees have the necessary work visas or work permits to take up employment in South Africa.
By law, holders of the following visas and permits may take up full-time employment in South Africa:
-Permanent Residency permit holders;
-General Work visa holders- these visas are valid for the duration of the contract of employment;
-Intra Company transfer visa holders- these visas are valid for a period of 4 years and are renewable;
-Quota Work visa holders;
-Critical skills visa holders;
-Corporate Work visa holders;
-Asylum seeker and refugee permit holders;
-Exchange visas- these visas are valid for a period of 1 year and are renewable;
-Special Visas issued by the Department of Home Affairs– these include the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation permits, Angolan special visas - to name a few.
While holders of the following visas and permits may take up part-time employment in South Africa:
-Study visa holders- may take up part-time employment for no more than 20 hours per week.
It is important to note that this list is not exhaustive, given the many special permits granted to various nationals over the years by the Department of Home Affairs. Businesses are encouraged to approach an immigration consultant to query the terms and conditions of the permits and visas held by their employees.