Global Alerts

SOUTH AFRICA – New Announcements from the South African Department of Home Affairs

Foreign Nationals Must Wait Until Application is Approved to Travel Overseas

Directive 43 of 2010, which allowed foreign national applicants to re-enter South Africa if they were able to provide proof of pending stay permit application, has since been repealed. This change means that any foreign nationals who apply for a stay permit in South Africa will have to remain in South Africa until their applications have been processed. However, any foreign nationals whose applications are currently pending but, who are still holders of an existing non-expired permit will be permitted to travel until their current permit expires.

If a foreign national’s stay permit application is pending and he/she does not hold a valid permit while departing South Africa, he/she will be required to obtain a visitor’s visa from a South African consular post before traveling back to South Africa. However, it should be noted that if a foreign national chooses to re-enter on a visitor visa, he/she will not be allowed to work in South Africa until his/her permit is approved. Additionally, this foreign national may face potential fines.

This policy change ultimately means that any foreign worker who is not the holder of a valid permit during the processing of his/her pending application will lose work authorization and become subject to possible fines upon traveling outside of South Africa. Foreign nationals should seek advice prior to traveling while having an application pending, and employers should be aware of this change in case they receive any applications for leave or temporary overseas assignments.

In cases where travel is deemed necessary, foreign nationals must obtain a visitor’s visa while abroad and before their return to South Africa, which may take up to 15 days. Employers must ensure that their employee does not work until they have been granted a valid work authorization upon their return to South Africa. It is suggested that employers regularly confirm that their employees have work authorization, which would inform them of any travel done by their employees without their consent.

SOUTH AFRICA – New Immigration Regulations Placed on Hold

The South Africa Department of Home Affairs has delayed the implementation of the amended Immigration Regulations, which include major changes to the current system. As stated in our alert provided for the week of March 17, 2014, relating to the draft Amendment to the Immigration Regulations, the new Regulations were scheduled to take effect beginning April 1, 2014. The Department of Home Affairs Legal Services has confirmed that the new Regulations have been placed on hold, until further notice.

Draft Immigration Regulations

Among the changes in the proposed new Immigration Regulations are major changes to the general work visa application procedure, an extension of the validity period of intracompany transfer work visas from two to four years and a new “Critical Skills” category of work visa to replace two current categories.

Also in the draft amendments are an end to in-country change of status applications from visitor visa to, for example, work visa; a move to applications in person; and more stringent requirements for admission and passports, study visas, police clearance, overstaying and travelling with children.

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