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The Minister of Home Affairs has announced that the new regulations will be published on 1 February for Public Comment. The normal procedure is that  30-days is allowed for comments after which an implementation date is set, probably for 1 May or 1 June this year.

There are a number of implications for applicants, should this application go through in the current form. In summary, these are:

  1.  Exceptional Skills and Quota permits will be abolished and new category, for  the Critical Skills visa will be established. The Critical skills category requires a list of identified skills, which Home Affairs has aid, will be available by Mach this year;
  2. First applications will have to be done at an SA Mission overseas, and the applicant will then enter with a visa to conduct the designated activities. It is not clear yet, with having the final Regulations available, whether current permits will be convertible or extendable inside South Africa without the applicant having to leave South Africa and apply under the new permit categories;
  3. Business permit requirements will change, including the applicant having to fit into certain designated business categories to qualify;
  4. Section 46, which regulates the Immigration Practitioner profession will be removed which basically leave no regulation for this industry. We do not believe that this is a good thing, as it leaves the public vulnerable to unscrupulous operators. We will continue our services to clients in the adjusted environment and advise on best options, compile and submit application, with the applicant having to submit in person for security purposes. We will accompany applicants to Home Affairs where this is required and practical.

In a separate development, Home Affairs has announced that VFS, a private company, will operate the Immigration Offices  in 11 centres around South Africa (reduced from 46 offices) and VFS will take in applications and payments and forward these to Pretoria for adjudication. There may be additional fees payable, in addition to the normal Home Affairs fees, to VFS,  for their services. The Regulations will clarify what these costs will be.

 

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