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South Africa: Concessions Granted Due to Processing Delays of Long-Term Visa Applications

Source: Sa Migration, 29/06/2022

At a Glance
• The Department of Home Affairs is providing an automatic extension of status until 30 September 2022, for applicants currently in South Africa with pending visas and waivers, due to processing delays in adjudicating long-term visa applications.
• The processing delays are a result of a measure put in place in January, where the Department of Home Affairs required all long-term visa applications to be adjudicated in Pretoria, instead of at the South African consular posts. Due to understaffing, there is now a backlog of applications.
• Employers should ensure that they plan their employees’ start dates at least six months in advance to accommodate the lengthier processing times to meet their projected assignments or local employment start dates.
The situation
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) is providing an automatic extension of status for applicants currently in South Africa with pending visas and waivers due to processing delays in adjudicating long-term visa applications.
A closer look
• Pending waiver applications. Foreign nationals with pending waiver applications who are currently in South Africa have been granted an automatic temporary extension of their status until 30 September 2022, during which time the DHA anticipates adjudicating their applications.
o Approval. If the foreign national receives an approval by this date, they can proceed to apply for an appropriate visa.
o Denial. If the foreign national receives a denial by this date, they must depart South Africa to avoid being declared undesirable for overstaying their status.
• Pending visa applications. Foreign nationals with pending visa applications who are currently in South Africa have been granted an automatic temporary extension of their status until 30 September 2022, during which time the DHA anticipates adjudicating their applications.
o Approval. If the foreign national receives an approval by this date, they can continue to reside in South Africa.
o Denial. If the foreign national receives a denial by this date, they can appeal their application within the prescribed timeline or depart to avoid being declared undesirable for overstaying their status. These foreign nationals can also abandon their application and depart from South Africa without being declared undesirable on or before 30 September 2022.
• Visa-exempt nationals. Visa-exempt foreign nationals with pending waiver or visa applications who seek to travel outside of South Africa before 30 September 2022 can present their Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) receipts on their return to South Africa for re-admission.
• Visa-required nationals. Visa-required foreign nationals with pending waiver or visa applications who seek to travel outside of South Africa before 30 September 2022 must obtain a visa (showing proof of their VFS receipt as part of the supporting documents for the application) to re-enter South Africa. They will not be subject to delays in obtaining this visa since consulates can issue visas for durations shorter than 90 days which the foreign national can then extend in South Africa.
• Processing times. Processing times have increased from the usual four to eight weeks to an estimated minimum of 16 weeks.
www.samigration.com


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