New procedures have been implemented by the head office of the Department of Home Affairs, which are currently affecting applicationssubmitted at the Pretoriaregional office and may be rolled out nationally within the coming months. TheDepartment has formed a so-called "hub", being a team of senior officials athead office level who have been put in charge of adjudicating temporaryresidence applications.

The system, which has been in effect as of February 2010 andaims to combat fraud and corruption as well as reduce the backlog of pendingapplications, is intended to centralize the adjudication of temporary residenceapplications and thereby to reach more consistency in decision-making. Thismeans that if your application, or that of your employees, is submitted to the Pretoria regional officeit will be processed and finalised by head office officials as opposed to thosesituated at the regional office.

According to senior members of the "hub", the idea is thatapplications will be sent by courier to the head office for processing andadjudication and returned to the regional office for issuing and endorsement ofpassports. This new system is intended to substantially shorten processingtimes and the aim is for an average application to be processed within 5 to 10working days as opposed to the 30 working days and more previously taken.

However, in many cases no alleviation has been felt andprocessing times remain extraordinarily long. This is partly due to the factthat the "hub" has detected applications that have been pending for up toseveral years, which need to be attended to. Another problem experienced isthat the system used for issuing the actual permit (stickers) creates a gap ofup to two weeks between notification that an application has been approved andactual receipt of the permit.

As a result of the above, please be aware that delays mayoccur in both the processing of applications and the endorsement of passportsonce notice of approval has been received.