In an unexpected and shocking move, Home Affairs recently withdrew its 2008 directive which allowed asylum seekers and recognized refugees to apply to change their status to ordinary temporary or permanent residence permits.

Asylum seekers may no longer apply for another status, and recognized refugees may no longer change to a relatives, work or any other visa and can only apply for permanent residence after 5 years of having held the status of recognized refugee. Apart from the practical implications, such as difficulties with getting documentation in case of marriage and childbirth, holding bank accounts or conducting business, this action by Home Affairs also violates a High Court order. The matter is now before the courts again.