Behind the Scenes; Permanent Residence and Citizenship Still Closed for Business
The Minister’s declared intention to combat corruption within the Department (prominently exposed through the Gupta citizenship case) is highly welcome, but with several suspensions has also led to general turmoil amongst Head Office officials.
The Minister announced in early March a mammoth project of reviewing all corporate, business, critical skills, retirement and study visas, all permanent residence permits and all citizenships by naturalisation granted since 2004. Some officials are feeling unfairly scrutinised and many are said to be extra cautious now, leading to further delays.
Applications for temporary residence, waivers and appeals are still open, but those for permanent residence and citizenship remain closed. It has been a year since these applications were accepted by Home Affairs, and concerns are growing about the Department’s capacity to manage the number of applications that are waiting to be submitted as soon as these services open. Imcosa is awaiting confirmation of a special arrangement for off-site submissions that will alleviate the pressure in this regard. It will be announced when available. Whilst results for permanent residence have been trickling in, no movement whatsoever has been felt in citizenship matters. According to our information, officials are sitting with piles of results, but not touching them.
Since our last newsletter, visa processing times have lengthened and now average at 2-3 months. The quality of adjudication has heavily deteriorated, and we have seen numerous erroneous rejections, which had to be appealed. This appears to be a function of the leadership disruptions mentioned above and is being raised with management.