IMCOSA Immigration Consulting South Africa


10 February 2014

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Dear Clients, Friends and Partners,

I hope that you have been able to enter 2014 full of energy and hope. For us, the year has certainly started with a bang, and all indicators are out that it will be a year of change and action. In this spirit, we want to keep you informed on the upcoming changes in immigration laws and processes.

Immigration Law Changes
There are indications that the amendments to the immigration laws might come into force and effect very soon. It is, however, unlikely that this will be before mid or end of March. These are the things to look out for (please note that the below is not in effect yet and subject to change):

1. If you are in the country, or planning to come into the country as a short-term visitor (or for medical treatment), you will NO LONGER be able to apply for a longer-term permit from inside the country. Instead, you will have to go home, apply and wait for your result there. If you have a longer-term visa in your passport and wish to apply for permanent residence, for an extension or change of your current visa, you will still be able to do that without returning home.

--> If you are in the process of preparing for a local application and unable to instead apply in your home country, check with us on how to guarantee that this is done timeously.

2. If you are planning for any application (locally or abroad) from April onwards, be prepared for having to travel to the office of application and presenting yourself in person.

3. If you are preparing to make a first-time (or extension) application for an exceptional skills permit, be quick. This category will no longer exist under the new laws. Also, the requirements for the quota work permit will substantially change. Categories will include engineers - civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical - agronomists, suitably qualified artisans, scientists, senior project managers, environmental experts, ICT specialists and economic planners.

4. If you or your current or prospective staff plan to apply for a general work permit, prepare for longer waiting times. The intensified involvement of the Department of Labour is likely to slow down or even stall work permit applications.

5. If you are planning to apply for a business permit after April, first inform yourself of the industries and sectors that are seen by government to be "in the national interest". Business ventures outside of these supported industries will no longer be grounds for a business permit. The minimum investment amount is expected to be increased to 7-8 million.

Home Affairs Update (in short)
The permanent residence backlog project has been fairly successful and many results have been received. A good number are, however, still outstanding, and the rush in which the results were achieved has led to a very poor standard of decision-making and many unjustified rejections, which have to be appealed.

The processing times for temporary residence applications lodged within South Africa is still standing at an average 8-12 weeks instead of the target 4-6 weeks. As per usual the processing time will depend on the quality of the submitted application package.

IMCOSA will keep you up to date on all developments, and your consultants are always available for any questions you may have.

Yours sincerely, best wishes for now

Julia Willand and the IMCOSA Team

IMCOSA Immigration Consulting South Africa
Western Cape (021) 462 3184 l Gauteng (011) 326 5131 l