Download the New Regulations of 2014 here
By Robbie Ragless
On the 16th of May 2014 the president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, together with the Minister of Home Affairs, Naledi Pandor signed off what will be the latest round of changes to the Immigration Regulations of South Africa. The changes to these regulations will come into effect on Monday the 26th May 2014 as per the electronic government gazette released today.
The implementation of the said regulations is another story all together as staff members at the regional offices of Home Affairs have no idea about these rule changes, have had no training on the new regulations and the new forms in the gazette have not been made available. In fact, this electronic gazette has not even made its way to the public printers to then be circulated.
Upon close inspection, key elements mentioned in the new regulations are of concern and will be met with strong opposition from stakeholders and members of the public.
Apparent Issues with the New Regulations
- Visa Fees: There is no mention in the regulations how much it will cost to lodge an application.
- Net worth requirements for retirement visas have not been included
- The inclusion of the Department of Labour will result in delays as previously seen
- The inclusion of the Department of Trade and Industry in the visa process which will cause delays and scare off potential investor and business owners as the process will be extremely cumbersome
- VFS and their fees: What is the new role of VFS? What authority do they have?
- The scarce skills visa: No list has been given that highlights skills shortages
The latest regulations have been implemented without much thought and in haste and it will be interesting to see what happens on Monday the 26th when the first applications are made at Home Affairs.
Major Changes in the New Gazette
Life Partner and Spouse Visas
The first major change to the regulations includes the mandatory requirement that spouses or life partners are together for 2 years prior to an application for temporary residency. The regulations do state that Life Partners will need to attend an interview “on the same date and time to determine the authenticity of the existence of their relationship”
Changing to another Visa whilst in South Africa
Previously, applications would need to be made at least 30 days prior to the expiry of the current visa. The new regulations make it clear that applications will now need to be made 60 days before the expiry date of the current visa. The inability for Home Affairs to previously finalise an application in 30 days is reflected in this new change.
New regulations also state that one cannot change from a visitors visa into another type of visa and these applications for change of conditions must be made at a mission abroad. ( IE An embassy, Consulate etc )
It has been made clear that any accountant can now verify the availability of funds for a business visa whereas before, a chartered accountant would need to determine this.
Business’s will now need to get a recommendation letter from the Department of Trade and Industry which means a much more forensic assessment on the feasibility of the business entity will be put in place. One can expect huge delays in this regard.
Business visas will be granted for now longer than 3 years at a time
Scarce Skills Visa
The introduction of this visa has not been made clear as there is no apparent list that one would determine the scarcity of the skill they possess.
Intra Company Visas
The employee will need to be employed with the foreign office for no shorter than 6 months before being eligible for transfer to South Africa. The visa will now be available for 4 years.
There has also been a massive increase in the administrative fines to be issued to overstayers and any other persons who are in contravention of the act.
Please consult a New World Immigration staff member if you are thinking of making an application for temporary / permanent residency by giving us a call on +27(0)21 555 0951 or leaving an enquiry on our website.