The current South African immigration
laws were implemented with the Immigration Amendment Act and renewed Immigration Regulations in May 2014.
The amendments brought about a few positive changes and clarifications, but at large they are not - as widely claimed - making it easier for skilled foreigners to come to and work in South Africa. With a few exceptions, the opposite applies, and the visa application process has become more onerous, time-consuming and sometimes costly.
After a turbulent few months following the implementation - due to a lack of preparation, communication and training on the part of the responsible government department -, things have started settling down somewhat. The critical skills visa
, amongst other categories, has opened up a number of additional avenues for qualifying individuals to obtain work visas
for up to five years at a time. Other processes are becoming easier and faster as processes settle into a rhythm.
The Minister of Home Affairs has publicly stated that the implementation of the law changes will be closely monitored and necessary adjustments be made. Also, there are numerous court cases against the Department of Home Affairs pending or being prepared, so further policy and procedural changes are on the cards for 2015.Submission of ApplicationIMCOSA
handles submission of applications both in South Africa and in the country of origin of the applicant. An application can be processed and finalised in the country of origin or may need to be referred to the Department of Home Affairs’ Head Office in Pretoria, South Africa, depending on the details of the submitted application. Since the amendments of May 2014, applicants need to appear in person each time they make an application.
Applications for extensions or change of status by individuals already in South Africa are submitted to the nearest Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) centre locally. IMCOSA
will accompany clients to the interviews and guide them through the process. It is paramount that any such applications are made at least 60 days prior to expiry of the existing permit or visa.
Since the legislative changes of May 2014, it is no longer possible to enter the country as a visitor or tourist and to make an application for a work, study, retirement or other longer-term visa from here. Such applications need to be made prior to arrival in the country of citizenship or residence.
It is still possible to extend a 30- or 90-day visitor's visa from within the country, once.
For more information:
Visit the website or Contact us on the details below.
Western Cape Office - Cape Town
Tel +27 (0) 21 462 3184
Units 84-85, Roeland Square, Roeland Street, Cape Town 8001, South Africa