Recent South African Immigration Changes

On August 29, 2019 / by Sherone Lewis / Leave a comment

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In the past couple of months there have several noteworthy changes to the South African immigration landscape. In this blog post we will aim to explain the gist of these changes.

The first change came about when the Department of Home Affairs issued their first directive of 2019. This directive pertains to the s11(2) Visitors Visa with endorsement to conduct work in South Africa

The s11(2) Visitors Visa will not be issued by a foreign mission beyond three months. Where an extension is required, same may be applied for in South Africa for an additional and final three-month period. Once the required periods have concluded, a new s11(2) visa cannot be reapplied for within the same calendar year. Where the period of the visa overlaps into the new calendar year, the overlapping days will be considered part of the new calendar year. When filling an extension application, the Department of Home Affairs will calculate to ensure the applicant does not exceed 180 days in South Africa in any given calendar year.

This directive was issued in an aim to prevent the use of this visa in an unintended manner. The General work visa, critical skills visa and Intra company transfer visa remain the long-term options for work activities within South Africa.

The second major change came via the Constitutional Court in the case of Nandutu v Minister of Home Affairs. The applicants sought to have regulation 9(9)(a) of the Immigration Regulations declared unconstitutional on the basis that it limits the constitutional right to dignity by limiting the rights of persons to marry and cohabit, and the best interests of children by limiting their rights to family care.

The main issue before the Constitutional Court was whether regulation 9(9)(a) is constitutionally invalid to the extent that it does not extend “exceptional circumstances” to include “where the applicant is a foreign spouse or child of a South African citizen or permanent resident”.

The majority declared regulation 9(9)(a) invalid and inconsistent with the Constitution, in that it unjustifiably limits the constitutional right to dignity and the right that a child’s best interests are paramount in every matter concerning the child.

The effect of this ruling means that spouses and children of South African citizens or permanent residents would not have to depart from South Africa when applying for a change in Visitor’s visa status. This change of status application can now be submitted at any VFS office located in South Africa.

If you’re looking to obtain a South African visa, it’s always better to get the help of an experienced Immigration Consultant. Make sure you get in touch with one of our Immigration Consultants today to make your move to South Africa a seamless one.

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Sherone Lewis

Sherone Lewis

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