South Africa: Employers of foreign nationals should take note of blanket temporary visa extensions in light of backlogs

In brief

Businesses with foreign national employees in South Africa that are planning their workforce mobility programs should note that the Minister of Home Affairs in South Africa, in an attempt to address the backlog in processing visa applications and outcomes on waiver applications, has extended the temporary measures, which are outlined below.


Key extension dates to note:

  • Waiver applications: Applicants with waiver applications pending have been granted a temporary blanket extension until 30 September 2022. This is to allow time for the Department of Home Affairs to process the pending applications and for the applicants to be able to collect their outcomes and submit their relevant visa applications. Applicants who wish to abandon their waiver applications and depart South Africa will be able to do so on or before 30 September 2022 without being declared undesirable.
  • Visa applications: Applicants with pending visa applications have been granted a temporary blanket extension on their current visa status and conditions until 30 September 2022. Applicants who wish to abandon their visa applications and depart South Africa will be able to do so on or before 30 September 2022 without being declared undesirable. Applicants who originate from countries that are exempt from the port of entry requirements, have pending long-term visa applications and wish to travel, may travel but will be required to present their Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) receipts on arrival back at the port of entry for admission into South Africa. Those applicants that are from countries that are visa restricted will require a port of entry visa as well as the VFS receipts on arrival back at the port of entry for admission into South Africa.

The above temporary measures apply only to foreign nationals who have been legally admitted into South Africa.

Businesses that employ foreign nationals in South Africa have had to contend with numerous challenges, including visa backlogs and recently lifted travel restrictions to and from South Africa due to COVID-19. They must also consider changing laws regarding employing foreign nationals, namely, the Draft National Labour Migration Policy and Employment Services Amendment Bill. Public comments on the new Bill had to be submitted by the end of May 2022 and are now being considered.

Read our alert on this topic here: South Africa: Trio of employment law developments - Baker McKenzie InsightPlus

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