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Short-term work authorization restricted to 180 days per year

On May 30, 2019 / by Sherone Lewis / Leave a comment

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The Department of Home Affairs has issued a directive that restricts short-term work authorization (known as the Section 11(2) endorsement to a visitor’s visa) to 180 days per calendar year. Additionally, in-country renewals of short-term work authorization will be limited to one per year, and a “cooling off” period will be applied to prevent applicants from immediately applying for successive 11(2) endorsements from abroad.

The directive was issued by the Acting Director of the Department of Home Affairs and appears to be aimed at curbing abuse of short-term work authorization by foreign nationals who use it to perform continuous work.

The directive significantly reduces the use of this popular form of work authorization, which allows foreign nationals to conduct short-term assignments in South Africa, often on a continuous basis.

Foreign nationals who have already obtained a 90-day Section 11(2) work authorization followed by a three-month renewal should anticipate that they will not qualify for another renewal within the same calendar year. Foreign nationals will only be granted one three-month renewal per calendar year in-country, and will be subject to a cooling off period before applying for a new Section 11(2) work authorization from outside the country.

Companies that rely on short-term work authorization for more than 180 days per year may need to explore alternative visas, such as the critical skills work visa or intra-company transfer work visa. Unfortunately the application and approval processes for these visas are more work and much longer than for short-term work authorization.

The policy was released with no notice to stakeholders, but had been put into practice previously. A new Department of Home Affairs Minister is expected to take office, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s re-election, and although Ramaphosa is on a pro-business platform, it is not yet clear whether additional changes will be made to immigration policies.

If you’re looking to get a South African visa, or need more information on South Africa’s immigration policies, make sure you get in touch with one of our Immigration Consultants today!

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