The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has introduced further temporary measures in respect of a backlog towards processing outcomes on visa and waiver applications.
On 1 September 2022, the DHA introduced further temporary measures to address the impact that the increased backlog in processing visa and waiver applications has on foreign nationals. The temporary measures provide a new blanket temporary extension of foreign nationals' current visa status until 31 March 2023 for those awaiting visa and waiver application outcomes.
Foreign nationals who wish to abandon the process of their pending visa or waiver application and leave the country instead may also do so on or before 31 March 2023 without being declared undesirable.
Foreign nationals with pending long-term visa applications who originate from visa exempt countries and wish to travel, will be allowed to proceed provided that they present their original VFS receipt upon departure and re-entry into South Africa. Foreign nationals with pending long-term visa applications who originate from countries who are not visa exempt and wish to travel, will be allowed to proceed but will be required to produce a port of entry visa and the VFS receipt in order to be allowed re-entry into South Africa.
The extended temporary measures only apply to foreign nationals who have legally entered South Africa and waiting for the outcome of a visa or waiver application.
In respect of the decentralisation of the visa adjudication system, all pending long-term visa applications which were submitted in a relevant South African mission abroad before 1 September 2022 will still be adjudicated by the DHA in South Africa. All new long-term visa applications submitted in a relevant South African mission abroad will be adjudicated by the relevant Consular Section. Following the various internal changes which were made in the last few days, delays in receiving outcomes can be expected.
Our Employment team are advising businesses on the impact of the changes to the immigration system on foreign employees as organisations respond to, manage and pre-empt legal risk that may arise as a result.