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Uncertainty, Confusion and Delays - New Immigration Regulations

Confusion, Uncertainty and Delays – The New Immigration Regulations

 


The Department of Home affairs is clamping down on people who were using expired temporary visas. Foreigners have been allowed to travel in and out of the country as long as they had a receipt to prove that they have applied for a new permit.

The department has withdrawn the directive that made it possible. The goal is to tighten up where illegal immigration is concerned by not having the possible loopholes that existed in the past.

The withdrawal of this directive means that foreigners who want to leave South Africa, who do not have a valid permit, will be fined for staying longer than their permit permitted them to. Airlines have been asked to check that people are not in contravention of the rules. They have also been instructed to report those who have defaulted to the SA embassy. Foreigners should rather stay in South Africa until the outcome of their application is known.

The new regulations are aimed at tightening up the loopholes and it will make it more difficult for foreigners to reside here and travel in and out of SA.

They include;

• In order to qualify for spousal visas or life-partner visas, applicants will need to be able to prove that their relationship is a minimum of five years old;
• Visa applicants will need to come in person when applying and cannot be represented by an attorney or by an agent. This rule will apply to first-time and repeat applicants. It will also apply locally and abroad;
• Study permits will only be granted for higher learning institutions (universities), Training and Further Education colleges, secondary or primary schools;
• All applications for a change to visas or extensions will need to be done 30 days before they expire; and
• There will be a zero-tolerance policy implemented with regard to overstaying. Just one offence could lead to the person in question being declared “undesirable” for anywhere from 2-10 years.

While some of the changes are being welcomed, there are still “grey” areas that many parties are not very happy about.

The intended date for implementation of the new regulations was 1 April 2014 at the time of going to press. There has been no release to state that the implementation date has been postponed.

So where are we?

The old rules still apply until we are told otherwise. This is not really possible or plausible and as most people know, the Department of Home Affairs has been known to implement new regulations without any notice.

Therefore practically any person seeking advice, in particular on the below, needs to exercise great caution and is advised to get more information from an immigration expert.

• Life partner permits
• Quota work permits
• Exceptional skills work permits

It is possible that any new application that are currently being compiled (or planning on being compiled) for these specific permits might not be submitted in time. This is especially true with regard to Exceptional skills permits and Quota work permits where it is often necessary for third party information to be supplied, which can takes weeks to get.

All potential immigrants should be careful when it comes to committing to paying money or planning for applications, as it may end in disappointment if they do not have someone helping them with the procedure. Immigration experts will have all the updated information regarding these changes and it is recommended that people watch out for bad advice from individuals who are not up-to-date with the new rules and regulations.

 

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