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Immigration law changes 2014

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As the new South African Immigration Regulation came into effect a months ago, Initiate Immigration explores the changes affecting foreigners living or seeking to live in South Africa.

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Immigration law changes 2014

  1. 1. Initiate International Get in touch South Africa’s new Immigration framework
  2. 2. Get in touch
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  4. 4. Get in touch Note The points in this presentation have been selected from the Final Regulations and do not represent the total number of changes the industry can expect. Since the first draft was published Initiate Immigration has taken a practical approach and has advised clients on their options, taking both the current and proposed law into account. The final regulations were signed on 16th May, published on 22nd May and expected implementation date of 26th May. Immigration to South Africa will not be as easy as it was before, but with our team assisting you there is no reason why it should not be as successful. It is suggested you study the below and contact us to discuss details and possible ways forward.
  5. 5. Get in touch Preamble of the Immigration Act “Contribution of foreigners in the South African labour market should not adversely impact on existing labour standards and rights, and expectations of the South African workers"
  6. 6. Get in touch CONTEXT: South Africa • Political pressure following negative image of Home Affairs in foreign press; • International Perception of the SA immigration framework; • Alignment with international visa practices; • Cheap foreign labour in favour of the local workforce • Marriages of convenience; • Abuse of asylum and refugee system; • Child trafficking;
  7. 7. Get in touch CHANGES - general • Term “permit” falls away; replaced with “visa”; • Submission of initial application at South African embassy; • Application for “change of status” – change from one visa to another- may be done in South Africa UNLESS initial visa is a visitor’s visa; • Submission in person at embassy and Home Affairs for Biometric data capturing • Submission of application at Home Affairs: • 60 days prior to expiry of current visa • Police clearance certificates MUST be included in the application • Candidates overstaying their visas will be barred from re- entering South Africa for a prescribed period (5 year maximum); • Introduction of Visa Application Centers;
  8. 8. Get in touch General Work Visas • Companies will need to show that 60% of workforce is local; • Special Unit with Dept. of Labour to be established to issue recommendations; • Long list of requirements need to be met; • Police clearance certificates MUST be included in the application; Effective changes • Previously no quota of local labour required. • Recommendation from Dept. of Labour could be substituted by salary benchmarking certificate. This option was quicker. • Substantial proof required that search for local labour was unsuccessful. • Including report from recruiter (which our recruitment department can assist with).
  9. 9. Get in touch Critical Skills • Qualifications & Experience as per critical skills LIST. • Registration with professional body, council or board. • Qualifications reviewed by South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) • Confirmation letter from professional body, council or board which is recognised by SAQA. • Reference letters and testimonials Note: • Similar to the previous Quota Visa there will be a set list. However, ASIDE from registering with professional industry body, the Critical Skills Visa also requires a confirmation letter from a professional industry body.
  10. 10. Get in touch Intra Company Transfer • Intra-Company Transfer visa will be issued for 4 years; • Employment contract from company abroad confirming employment of no less than 6 months; • A plan is developed for the transfer of skills to South African citizens or permanent residents; • This visa is not renewable; Effective changes • Previously the visa was issued for 2 years • It seems as more emphasis will be placed on skills transfer
  11. 11. Get in touch Corporate Visa • Proof of registration of the company and compliance with all statutory requirements (SARS, UIF, etc.); • Substantial proof required that search for local labour was unsuccessful. • Companies will need to show that 60% of workforce is local; • Corporate Visa issue for only 3 years; Effective changes • Previously no quota of local labour required. • Substantial proof required that search for local labour was unsuccessful.
  12. 12. Get in touch Corporate Work Visa • Corporate Work Visas issued for 3 years; • Staff on Corporate Work Visa will not be able to renew or change status; • Foreign qualifications evaluated by SAQA OR proof of skills and experience in line with job offer; • Certificate of registration with professional body, board or council where required; • Time under a Corporate Work visa no longer qualifies for Permanent Residency based on 5 years continuous work;
  13. 13. Get in touch Section 11(2) Visas (Visitor’s Visa with Work Endorsement) • S11(2) visas (visitor’s with work endorsement) must be applied for at the embassy before arrival in South Africa. • S11(2) visas cannot be extended; Effective changes • Previously the visa was issued at airport immigration upon arrival of candidate (for candidates from visa-exempt countries). • Process is in line with international visa processes.
  14. 14. Get in touch Life Partner Visa • Proof of cohabitation and shared financial responsibility for at least 2 year prior to application at Home Affairs. • Notarial contract required along with the life partner affidavit • Interview to take place to confirm authenticity of relationship Effective changes • Previously no prescribed period of permanent relationship required. • Interview of applicants at the time of submission.
  15. 15. Get in touch Business Visa (Foreign nationals looking to start own business in South Africa) • Currently required investment of R2.5million expected to be increased; • The capital or financial contribution shall be determined by the Minister and issued by notice in the Gazette; • After 12 months proof must be submitted that 60% of workforce is local; • Company has to be in “national interest”; • Compliance with all statutory requirements;
  16. 16. Get in touch Visa Application Centres • The Department of Home Affairs has appointed VFS to operate its visa application centers. • VFS will charge an additional R1350 on top of the Home Affairs application fee. • VFS will only be responsible to take in applications and will not be able to provide any immigration advice or service.
  17. 17. Get in touch Final Remarks Even though the new regulations ha ve been a hot topic for many months, the lack of proper planning and communication by Home Affairs will lead to some interesting times while the changes are rolled out. On 22nd May the regulations were published with the implementation date set for 26th May. As this is also the date on which VFS will start operating the public has not been provided an opportunity to familiarise itself properly with the new laws and processes. Initiate has had a meeting with the Department of Labour to clarify the process of their recommendation, and once VFS opens its doors we will be the first in line to confirm their processes. We will keep our clients updated, but we will also ask for your patience as we start working within the new framework.
  18. 18. Get in touch For any questions please feel free to contact me. Joachim Schuckmann Immigration Director T: +27 (0) 21 488 9810 M: +27 (0) 76 480 6882 E: W: Skype: joachim.initiate