Most of the performance and turnaround targets named by the previous Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize during her budget vote statement in June are being met – current turnaround times for visas and for permanent residence are comparatively short.

In the category of critical skills, they are particularly fast with 1-2 weeks for temporary visa, and around 6 months for permanent residence. Where the Department of Home Affairs falls short of the former Minister’s goals, is in the area of permanent residence that is not based on critical skills.

We have been advised that all applications for permanent residence based on financial independence in terms of section 27(f) have been placed on hold until further notice due to major fraud investigations. If you have made an application in this category, prepare for long waiting times and possible enquiries from Home Affairs.

The Department of Labour (DOL), responsible for recommendations in the context of general work visa, has been making efforts to make its processes more efficient and modern and to be more transparent with its decisions. Its new online application system is impressive and functional, and DOL officials on a regional, but also many on a national level, are portraying openness for cooperation, which is much appreciated in the industry. Sadly, these efforts have not translated into positive recommendations being issued within a reasonable timeframe, or at all. This means that alternative routes have to be found. NOTE: If you, or one of your employees, hold a general work permit or visa require an extension, please contact our consultants immediately, as this visa category usually has extremely long lead times.

Working with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been a real pleasure recently. The team responsible for visa and immigration matters (mostly in the business category, as well as for corporate visa) is going all-out in supporting applicants, turning around applications for recommendation really fast, and communicating openly and transparently.

Have you considered applying for a visa or permanent residence in the critical skills category?

It can safely be said that this is a good time to make such an application. If you hold a critical skills visa or think you qualify for one (see the critical skills list here), contact us for a consultation on how to secure your permanent residence and/or long-term visa.