Archive from March, 2017
Mar 30, 2017 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Immigration Law Update: “Valid” Visas in Expired Passports

On Wednesday 15 February 2017 we received an unsigned circular which
we believe was produced by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), and
which Immigration Law Update: “Valid” Visas in Expired Passportsdealt
with the rectification of temporary residency visas and the transfer
of temporary residency visas from one passport to another. The
circular was badly drafted, and appeared to record that temporary
residency visas issued beyond the date of the expiry of a foreigner’s
passport will lapse when the passport expires, and that this DHA
policy would come into effect, immediately.

The DHA sought to justify the circular based upon an interpretation of
Immigration Regulation 2(3) and Section 48 of the Immigration Act 13
of 2002:

• “the period of validity of a passport contemplated in section
9(4)(a) of the Act shall not be less than 30 days after the
foreigner’s intended date of departure from the Republic”.

• no illegal foreigner shall be exempt from a provision of this Act or
be allowed to sojourn in the Republic on the grounds that he or she
was not informed that he or she could not enter or sojourn in the
Republic or that he or she was admitted or allowed to remain in the
Republic through error or misrepresentation, or because his or her
being an illegal foreigner was undiscovered”.

It seemed that the DHA’s stance was that their policy is in line with
the Act and its Regulation and therefore should not come as a shock.

The issuance of visas which extend past the expiry date of
a passport was never intended to be allowed in the first place. Any
issuance thereto was done in error, and should never have been

On 21 February 2017 we were then advised by the DHA that the circular
should be “ignored”. It is apparently being “scrapped”, and a new
document would be issued “soon”. Until further notice we are “to
proceed on the basis that temporary residency visas issued with expiry
dates after passport expiry dates remain valid”.

What this information indicates is that temporary residency visa’s
going forward will most probably not be granted in excess of the
expiry date of a foreigner’s passport (this is in line with our
current legislation). Foreigners are to take this into account when
making travel plans to come to South Africa and/or remain here. It is
possible that the circular was issued to test the waters, in
particular the extent of the public outcry if the policy was to come
into effect immediately upon the issue of the directive.

Besides the moral and constitutional issues in doing so, if the DHA
proceeds with the new policy then practically speaking temporary
residency visas will only be eligible for insertion into new passports
once old passports have expired. To achieve this, applicants will need
to undergo another application process, but they can only do this once
their new passports have been issued. This will create havoc with
applicants who are relying on a continuous temporary residency visa
status to apply for permanent residency, and also with family members
who are dependent on these applicants to remain legally in the
country. My feeling is that the new policy is going to be difficult to
apply to expired passports. If the DHA insists on pushing forward, it
should avoid retracting existing temporary residency visas,
alternatively give these temporary residency visa holders a grace
period within which to sort out their temporary residency
visa/passport situations.

In the meanwhile, all remains as it did previously.

Mar 29, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Man misses mother’s funeral because Home Affairs could not give him a visa

Man misses mother’s funeral because Home Affairs could not give him a visa
Tit-for-tat visa regulations between South Africa and New Zealand was introduced recently.
March 28, 2017 – TimesLive

reported on Tuesday that Kierane Apollos and his family missed his mother’s funeral because they could not obtain visas in time.
The paper said that Apollos and his family are now living in New Zealand and tried to apply for emergency visas to travel to South Africa in time for the funeral, but were told that there was “no criteria” for an emergency consideration.
TimesLive did not state how long the family has been living in New Zealand or when or how they gave up their South African passports.
Home Affairs introduced the tit-for-tat visa regulations after New Zealand introduced laws that required all South African citizens travelling to the Land of the Long White Cloud to apply for visa.
New Zealand publication‚ said that the SA High Commissioner to New Zealand‚ Zodwa Lallie‚ believed the government could do better to make allowances for emergency travel.
“Bilateral relations between countries are designed to enhance rather than impede‚” Lallie said.
“Immigration officials need to consider people’s circumstances in order to provide emergency services‚ consideration of emergencies is given as far as the client provides supporting documentation.”
Charlene Apollos, Kierane’s wife, also claimed that they had spoken to “many people” who were waiting up to a month and had still not received visas.
She said: “We are not disputing the decision to enforce the visa to travel to SA but find it a struggle to comprehend that it will take five to seven working days to obtain a visa in the case of an emergency. We cannot pre-empt death or any other emergency reasons to travel.”
According to TimesLive, Home Affairs spokesman Mayihlome Tshwete could not be reached for comment.

Mar 29, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Home affairs to send Zimbabweans on special permits packing

Home affairs to send Zimbabweans on special permits packing
20 March 2017 – Biztech
Home affairs minister Malusi Gigaba is expected to announce changes to the country’s position on Zimbabwe special permits (ZSPs) before the end of the month – with all indications that there is no room for extension, according to a report by The Sunday Times.
This follows earlier confirmation by home affairs media liasion officer Thabo Mokgola to Ground Up, who noted that “the Minister has made it clear that there would not be an extension of the ZSP.”
The ZSP was first introduced in October 2014, as a three year permit that would allow Zimbabwean nationals living in the country to legally work, own a businesses and study in South Africa, despite not carrying a valid visa.
By ending the ZSP programme, Zimbabwean nationals (who are not currently in the country legally) will now only be allowed to enter the country if they meet the requirements for a regular study, work or business visa. They would also need to leave South Africa and apply for these visas back in Zimbabwe.
In February, Gigaba announced a new hard-line stance on foreigners in the country and noted that he would be specifically targeting businesses who hire undocumented workers, saying that they will be found out and charged.
Violence against foreigners in South Africa has also escalated in recent months, including an ‘anti-foreigner’ march held by residents in Pretoria, and the burning of alleged ‘brothels and drug dens’ in Rosettenville, Johannesburg, which were mainly occupied by foreigners.

Mar 29, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

UK immigration documentation and the right to employment

UK immigration documentation and the right to employment
20 March 2017 – The South African

In the past few months, our consultants have been receiving more and more distressed calls from clients who are calling as employers are terminating or suspending their employment, due to their immigration documentation not being in order, according to the employer.
Several clients are calling about their right to employment and UK immigration documentation, and specifically the following issues;
• Employment being terminated for not having a Biometric Residence Permit;
• Employers saying that the Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in an expired passport is no longer valid for employment;
• And employers suspending employees as their passports have expired even though the visa remains valid for employment.
• We also have persons calling about the above issues, who qualify to apply for British citizenship, but simply do not have the money to lodge the application at the British Home Office.
We strongly advise clients of the following regarding immigration documentation;
• Save up for the British Citizenship application well in advance, so that you are able to pay the UK Home Office fee when you qualify to apply, as this will make life so much easier in terms of employment administration and immigration documentation.
• It is currently taking about four months to obtain a new South African passport. The transfer of conditions of the visa or ILR will take approximately two more months. Clients should thus be aware of the fact that it could take at least six months to get a new passport with the transfer of the visa and permit, included.
• We thus strongly advise clients, that even though a visa is valid, despite the passport being expired, it will be well advised to obtain a new passport well in advance of the current ones expiring so that they can do a transfer of conditions if necessary for employment purposes. In this regard, one has to keep in mind that the UK Home Office does charge an additional fee to process the Transfer of conditions.
• The Biometric residence card is a new introduction in the visa process. Applicants now received a BRP card as confirmation of their visa status. Applicants who applied for their visas before the introduction will not hold a BRP card. Clients do not need to be in possession of a Biometric Residence Permit in order to qualify to work in the UK. However, employers are under the impression that all visa holders should have a BRP card. Should there be doubts in regards to your visa and employment status, clients are welcome to contact us, and we will be able to provide a letter confirming the current employment rules regarding your status in the UK.
For more information, or for peace of mind, get in touch with your consultant today. Why not let us help you plan your immigration route to British Citizenship. Please use the form below to get in touch with us.

Mar 29, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

US #ElectronicsBan on flights: What travellers need to know

US #ElectronicsBan on flights: What travellers need to know
2017-03-21 – Traveller 24
Cape Town – Travelling to the US has become a roller-coaster headache for most travellers – as the latest ban issued requires travellers on flights originating from 10 specific airports to the US to pack electronic devices, bigger than a smartphone, into their checked-in baggage.
While cellphones and medical devices are excluded from the ban, no laptops will be allowed in hand luggage – officially as of Wednesday 22 March.
On Monday 20 March, the US government stated it was temporarily barring passengers on certain flights originating in eight countries and 10 airports from bringing laptops, iPads, cameras and most other electronics in carry-on luggage starting on Tuesday.
AFP reports the reason for the device ban was not immediately clear. US security officials would not comment
This follows the much-meligned US Travel ban on seven predominantly Muslim countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, which was then suspended by federal judges for being unconstitutional, only for a watered down version to then be put into effect, excluding Irag but still said to discriminate against people on a religious basis.
The latest US Travel-related ban came to light via statements released by Royal Jordanian Airlines and the official news agency of Saudi Arabia, and is said to be indefinite and will come into effect just before Wednesday’s meeting of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Washington.
“A number of top Arab officials were expected to attend the State Department gathering. It was unclear whether their travel plans were related to any increased worry about security threats.”
A US official told The Associated Press the ban will apply to nonstop flights to the US from 10 international airports and would effect nine airlines:
– Cairo in Egypt
– Amman in Jordan
– Kuwait City in Kuwait
– Casablanca in Morocco
– Doha in Qatar
– Riyadh and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia
– Istanbul in Turkey
– Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
‘Driven by possible intelligence of possible attack’
Royal Jordanian said cellphones and medical devices were excluded from the ban. Everything else, the airline said, would need to be packed in checked luggage. Royal Jordanian said the electronics ban affects its flights to New York, Chicago, Detroit and Montreal.
Brian Jenkins, an aviation-security expert at the Rand Corp, said the nature of the security measure suggested that it was driven by intelligence of a possible attack. He added that there could be concern about inadequate passenger screening or even conspiracies involving insiders – airport or airline employees – in some countries.
Emirate unaware of laptop ban
On Tuesday the Middle East’s biggest airline said it was not aware of any restrictions on electronics in aircraft cabins on US-bound flights.
Dubai-based Emirates says that it would “comply with any new operational or regulatory policies but it so far has “not received any notification of changes to cabin luggage restrictions on US flights.”
The government-backed airline operates daily flights from Dubai International Airport to multiple American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington.
Dubai International is the world’s busiest airport for international flights. Airport operator Dubai Airports refused to discuss the reported U.S. policy changes. It referred questions to the UAE’s civil aviation authority, which did not immediately respond to questions.
‘Theft from baggage would skyrocket’
Another aviation-security expert, professor Jeffrey Price of Metropolitan State University of Denver, said there were disadvantages to having everyone put their electronics in checked baggage. Thefts from baggage would skyrocket, as when Britain tried a similar ban in 2006, he said, and some laptops have batteries that can catch fire – an event easier to detect in the cabin than in the cargo hold.
Most major airports in the United States have a computer tomography or CT scanner for checked baggage, which creates a detailed picture of a bag’s contents. They can warn an operator of potentially dangerous material, and may provide better security than the X-ray machines used to screen passengers and their carry-on bags. All checked baggage must be screened for explosives.

Mar 29, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

Zim, South Africa ready to work together on migration

Zim, South Africa ready to work together on migration
March 20, 2017 Business Day
SOUTH Africa will exercise its right to determine who comes and resides into its shores cognisant of its obligations to the region, Home Affairs minister Melusi Gigaba said at the weekend.
With millions of Zimbabweans having escaped economic, political and social upheaval to seek refuge in the neighbouring country, Chombo told the conference that his government was willing to work with its counterparts in the region to stem the tide of illegal migration.
“South Africa must not look at regional migration as a burden, but as a development opportunity in the context of regional integration, intra-African trade and a dynamic region and continent. Working together, we can and will manage international migration for the development of our country, region and continent,” Gigaba said.
He added: “Politically, a country’s ability to determine who may enter and exit its territory, and on what terms, is a core aspect of national sovereignty, which all of the 200 or so countries in the international State system retain.”
Gigaba said his country was ready to work with its neighbours to control migration, as South Africa had become the centre of migration in the sub-region.
“South Africa has become a major destination, transit and entry point to the continent and the world. The country has become a preferred destination for investors. This has led to major conglomerates in the manufacturing and service industries, establishing their regional offices and/or assembly plants in South Africa,” Gigaba added.
Chombo weighed in: “Zimbabwe is also ready to work with its neighbour for a one-stop border post and stop border jumpers.”
Zimbabweans working in South Africa remain on edge, as a special dispensation permit granted in 2014 is set to expire at the end of the year, with no clear indication as to what will happen next.
South Africa, according to Gigaba, is developing a fresh migration policy for the next two decades.
“The draft policy balances the primary imperatives of economic development, national security, international and constitutional obligations as well as the vision articulated in the Freedom Charter’s injunctions that we should as a country seek to live in peace and friendship with our neighbours,” Gigaba said.
Tensions remain high between South Africans and immigrants in that country, amid threats of a possible outbreak of xenophobia that in the last few years has claimed the lives of dozens of foreigners, including Zimbabweans.
Gigaba noted that regional co-operation would help in stemming the tide of migration.

Mar 29, 2017 - Business Permit    No Comments

#AfriTravel: Cape Town international voted best in Africa as SA regional airports clean up

#AfriTravel: Cape Town international voted best in Africa as SA regional airports clean up
2017-03-15 – Traveller 24
Cape Town – Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) has not only been voted the best in Africa at the 2017 Skytrax World Airport Awards – but the airport which recently facilitated its highest volume of passengers in 2016, in excess of 10m passengers, has managed to climb three spots higher than last year from 22nd to 19th in the top 100 list.
The awards, held in Amsterdam on Wednesday, March 14, are among the most prestigious accolades in the aviation industry – seeing Cape Town International Airport clinching 19th spot in The World’s Top 100 Airports – 2017.
Minister of Economic Opportunities in Western Cape, Alan Winde, congratulated CTIA, saying the Skytrax World Airport Awards are the benchmark for excellence in aviation.
Durban’s King Shaka retained the same ranking at 35th spot in the top 100 Airports list, and was also voted the best Regional airport in Africa.
King Shaka which also saw record breaking arrivals in 2016 was voted the 6th best Regional Airport for 2017, with Japan’s Centrair Nagoya clinching top Regional airport spot. Three of SA’s other regional airports also featured in the list, with East London ranked 2nd, Port Elizabeth ranked 3rd and Bloemfontein ranked 4th – boding well for domestic travel all round.
Johannesburg come in at 37th position in the top 100 airports list overall, slipping some seven spots when compared to last year’s ranking. But it ranks considerably better than the US’s equally busy JFK Airport, which came in at 67th position in this year’s list.
These awards are significant because they are based on customer satisfaction, as voted by travellers – The 2017 Awards are in fact based on 13.82 million airport survey questionnaires completed by 105 different nationalities of airline customers during the survey period.
“I would like to commend Deon Cloete and the CTIA team for the great work they are doing in contributing to the growth of the tourism sector,” says Winde.
According to Winde, the CTIA is also a partner in the Cape Town Air Access initiative, which has landed seven new routes and facilitated ten route expansions for our region, since its launch in 2015.
“This has increased capacity at CTIA by over 600 000 seats and generated over R3 billion in tourism spend for the Western Cape. In 2016, CTIA also achieved a major milestone when they reached the 10 million passenger per year mark. These trends speak to CTIA as a world-class airport, which is setting the standard for customer service,” says Winde.
The world’s top 20 airports according to Skytrax for 2017 (2016 ranking) :
1 Singapore Changi (1)
2 Tokyo Intl Haneda (4)
3 Incheon Intl Airport (2)