On Friday, 2 September 2022, the Minister of Home Affairs granted Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders a further extension, i.e. until 30 June 2023, to obtain alternative work permits/visas (the previous deadline was 31 December 2022).
While this is a welcome reprieve for Zimbabwean workers and businesses alike, there are some important aspects that employers should be aware of, such as:
- Final extension: In the accompanying press release the Minister made it clear that no further extensions would be granted.
- Other Zimbabwean workers: Not all Zimbabweans who live and work in South Africa are ZEP holders. Zimbabweans who don’t hold a ZEP are required to have another form of work permit or visa, just like foreigners from other countries.
- Enforcement: It seems that the Department of Home Affairs is becoming more intent on enforcing the provisions of the Immigration Act.
- Prosecution: Employing any person who is not in possession of a valid work permit or visa, can result in employers being prosecuted.
- Protection against unfair dismissal: The dilemma that employers face, is that foreigners who do not have valid work permits also enjoy protection against unfair dismissal.
For more information about how to terminate the employment of ‘illegal immigrants’, see our previous article at https://www.labourwise.co.za/labour-articles/foreigners-illegal