On Wednesday, 29 March 2023, the Director General of Home Affairs made an announcement that would be good news to many foreign nationals. Certain applicants whose visa or waiver application outcomes are still pending have been given a temporary extension until 31 December 2023 to make the necessary arrangements to validate their right to live and work in South Africa.
According to the circular, the extension is “an attempt to address the impact that the backlog in processing outcomes on waiver and visa applications has on foreign nationals”.
The extension only applies to foreign nationals:
- Who have been legally admitted into South Africa;
- Who have submitted an application via VFS before or on 31 March 2023;
- Who are long term visa holders (Those whose visas were issued for less than 90 days and have not received their visa extension outcomes by 31 March 2023, would have to leave the country by no later than 30 April).
While this announcement provides welcome relief, employers are advised to obtain proof that their foreign employees are indeed in possession of valid visas, or that they have applied for such visas. If no such proof is provided, or if the extension does not apply to an employee, the employer is at risk of being prosecuted. Employers should take measures to terminate the employment of employees who are effectively illegally employed. 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
The circular referred to above is available on the website of the Department of Home Affairs at http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/notices/1660-temporary-measures-in-respect-of-foreign-nationals-in-light-of-a-backlog-experienced-in-processing-outcomes-on-waiver-applications-and-visa-applications