IMCOSA Immigration & Consulting South Africa
UPDATE ON IMMIGRATION MATTERS
08 October 2011
Dear Clients and Partners,
sehr geehrte Mandanten und Partner,
(die deutsche Version sehen Sie im Newsbereich unter www.imcosa.co.za/de)
South Africa is in an interesting developmental phase. The country is expectant, perhaps anxious to see what results the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung will deliver. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma isno longer the Minister of Home Affairs and has left her post to chair the African Union (AU) Commission. The Minister for Science and Technology, NalediPandor, has been appointed Acting Minister of Home Affairs last week. With general elections coming up in the not so distant future, it is not expected that there will be a permanent appointment any time soon. Equally, it would be unusual for an Acting Minister to pursue any major projects or changes with any kind of vigour. In some areas, this may just serve in our and our client's favour...
Home Affairs Update
The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Fatimah Chohan, declared in August that the backlog of applications for temporary residence permits had been cleared. From the IMCOSA team's experience, temporary residence applications are now regularly finalized within less than 30 days, and generally within 6 weeks. Errors both in the decision-making and the issuing of the permits are still common and acknowledged by Home Affairs.
The promises by the Head of Immigration (reported on in our last newsletter) to clear the permanent residence backlog within 6 months was not kept and the backlog seems practically unchanged. Latest commitments were to clear the backlog by the endof the year. We have not seen a general improvement regarding permanent residence applications, and save for extraordinarily and justifiably urgent cases, applicants should not expect to hear much news before the next year.
It has been confirmed that students wishing to take up unpaid internships in South Africa, can under certain circumstances qualify for extended visitors permits. This has opened up a new route to a group of people who have been experiencing greaterand greater restrictions over the past years.
The Home Affairs office in Durban has been considerably affected by a fire at the end of August, and as a result the sections dealing with ID documents, passports, registration of births, marriage and death have been closed until further notice. TheUmgeni Road or any other office of Home Affairs should be approached for assistance in the meantime. Kindly contact us should you have any questions in this regard.
Legal Action against the Department
Discussions are taking place around taking legal action against Home Affairs to resolve a number of problems that are being experienced. These mainly relate to Corporate Permits and to Work Permits issued under Corporate Permits:
• Before applying for a new Corporate Permit or the extension of an existing one, both the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labour (DoL) have always had to issue a recommendation. Lately, however, companies are facing aDepartment of Labour that is dragging its feet and apparently purposefully delaying the process by many months, or stalling it altogether.
• Some officials have re-discovered the notion that holders of work permits issued under a Corporate Permit (Corporate Worker Permits) may not change their permits from within South Africa. Practically, this means that when they are promoted to a higher position or wish to change employers, they have to return to their home country to apply for the relevant change from there.
We are hoping that legal action can be avoided and more amicable solutions found, but will keep you updated on relevant developments.
Changes to Legislation
The draft Regulations, which need to be finalised for the Amendment Act of 2011 to become effective, have still not been published for public comment. Since Minister Dlamini-Zuma was a driving forcebehind the amended legislation, her departure from the Ministry as mentioned above is likely to take some momentum out of this process. Therefore, we conservatively expect no change in the coming 6 to 9 months.
We have said good-bye to our Operations Manager in Gauteng, Mrs Astrid Popken, who has returned to her "original" industry of tourism. Astrid has been instrumental in stabilising our systems andaligning our processes with the Cape Town Head Office and we wish her all the very best for her professional and personal future.
We very much welcome to our team Marjoke Naude, who has taken up the position of Head of Consulting (Gauteng Office) touching the ground running. Marjoke is another registered Immigration Practitioner joining IMCOSA's team, and with her more than 20 years of experience in the immigration sector at various corporate and departmental levels, she allows our Gauteng office to service all clients in the north and east of the country comprehensively and with attention to all details.
Another warm welcome goes to Christine Matsvai, a qualified South African attorney with experience in immigration law, who joined our Gauteng team after returning from maternity leave.
Our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes go to our colleague Jennifer Makgareetse, who last week gave birth to a beautiful and healthy boy. May Emmanuel give you and Lucky joy and happiness always.
And lastly, we are pleased to announce that IMCOSA has recently taken over the client base of another immigration service provider, which will further cement IMCOSA's position as a premier immigration service provider in South Africa.
As per usual we would appreciate any comments and suggestions you may have pertaining to our service levels, this newsletter or any other relevant topics.
May you live through this last quarter of 2012 with ease and energy and enjoy the arriving summer here in South Africa.
Julia Willand and the IMCOSA Team
IMCOSA Immigration & Consulting South Africa
Western Cape (021) 462 3184 l Gauteng (011) 326 5131 l www.imcosa.co.za
IMCOSA - Immigration Consultants South Africa - Visa Services, Immigration Agents