Good Time to Apply for Critical Skills Visa or Permit - by Julia Willand / Director IMCOSA
(Part 1 of a Series of Home Affairs Focus Points and Strategies)
Earlier this month, the new Minister of Home Affairs, Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize, delivered her first budget speech in this portfolio. In it, she outlined her vision and focus areas for Home Affairs. In a series of articles, we will share with you the most interesting points she raised.
Immigration Services: Processing Time Targets –
According to the Minister, a turnaround standard was set in 2016 of 85% of permanent residence permits delivered within eight months of application. This target is to be maintained. The target for adjudicating temporary residence visas is being increased to 90% within eight weeks for business and general work visas. The Minister commited to improve the target for critical skills visas by 5%, to 80% adjudicated within four weeks.
Whilst these timelines, and particularly the target of meeting these consistently, sound like fairytale material, IMCOSA can attest to a trend towards significantly improved processing times, particularly for critical skills visas (at times as quick as a week), permanent residence based on critical skills (some as quick as 6 weeks), but also in a number of other categories. Whether this uptrend is to last or will be short-lived, is anyone’s guess. We have certainly seen them come and go.
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 http://www.dha.gov.za/images/immigration_critical_skills.pdf), contact us for a consultation on how to secure your permanent residence and/or long-term visa.