The Immigration Act and the Department of Home Affairs abhors fraudulent documents. Section 29(1)(f) provides ; The following foreigners are prohibited person and do not qualify for a port of entry visa, admission into the republic , visa or a permanent residence permit … anyone found in possession of a fraudulent visa, passport , permanent residence permit or identification document. Section 49(14) and 49(15) makes the use or attempted use of or uttering of any fraudulent document for the purpose of entering remaining in or departing from and residing in the republic a criminal offence, of which a person on conviction is liable to imprisonment of up to 15 years. So when one finds him of herself in possession of a fraudulent document how does one comeback from this immigration abyss?
There are two paths to rehabilitating yourself when you have been rendered a prohibited person for using or attempting to use or uttering a fraudulent visa, permit or Identity document. Section 29(2) makes provision for the Director General on good cause declare that person is no longer a prohibited person. This is done by way of submitting an application to Director General setting forth good cause why the person should be removed from the prohibited persons list.
Another avenue is in terms of section 32 of the Immigration Act and Regulation 30. Section 32 is an appropriate route in the event that the person is still in the country and looking to apply for a new visa. Regulation 30 provides 3 tests, that a person is an illegal foreigner, who has neither been arrested for the purpose of deportation nor been ordered to leave and who wishes to apply for a status after the expiry of his or her status.
Section 32 is applicable because by virtue of being in possession of a fraudulent permit or visa and have not been arrested ordered to leave then you meet the criteria under section 32.
The next criteria is that the person would need to show good cause why you failed to renew your previous visa. This would include the circumstances that led to you being in possession of fraudulent document. Often people are victims of an elaborate immigration scam and their permits would have worked for few times and so would be unaware of the fraudulent nature of their status until it is brought to their attention. They are as much victims of the fraud as is the state. It is important to be able to prove definitively that a third party was at play and in our experience, this works to the persons advantage.
The last criteria would be proof that the person is eligible for the visa that they intend to apply for. This is submitted in the form of all the required documents for the respective visa.
It is important to highlight that immigration issues of this kind do not go away with time. The Department will always discover that a person’s status is fraudulent or obtained in a fraudulent manner. So tackling these head on will be the best approach to any similar situation. The effect of coming forward to attempt to regularise your status is better than not doing anything. Any good faith effort to rehabilitate your status will certainly mitigate risks of being criminally convicted and will count as a positive in an application to remove the prohibited person status. It is also accepted that not every case can be rehabilitated.
For assistance with your immigration matter you can contact us at our offices and speak to one of our specialists.
Sa Migration International
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