New South African Visa Regulation Immigration Laws For Zambia.
South Africa recently amended its Immigration Act, which was subsequently signed into law by President Jacob Zuma on 16th May, 2014.
The High Commission of Zambia to South Africa has advised Zambians travelling between Zambia and South Africa to take note of the new South African immigration laws.
Under the new law, Zambia’s exemption from the Visa requirement list has continued and as such nationals travelling to South Africa would be granted a visitors permit at the port of entry for a maximum period of 90 days per annum, as has been the case in the past.
Further, under the new law, Visa status application period was changed from 30 to 60 days before the expiry of the current visa. One cannot change from a visitor’s Visa to a different type of Visa or Permit without first exiting South Africa. Applications for change of conditions or long stay permits other than visitors’ are now made at a South African Mission abroad – South African High Commission or Consulate.
Previously, nationals could apply for a Temporary Residence Permit whilst using a Visitor’s Visa but the amended law now prohibits foreigners from applying for a Temporary Residence Permit while still in South Africa.
As for Business Visa requirements, applicants are now required to get a letter of recommendation from the Department of Trade and Industry; confirmation from a Chartered Accountant on either capacity to pay pledged capital or actual contribution of capital into a business.
The new law also requires that a foreign applicant makes an undertaking to employ 60 percent of South African nationals in the business once in operation. The Business Visas will only be granted for a renewable three-year period.
The Quota and Exceptional Skills Work Permits have been replaced with the Critical Skills Permit, which were expected to provide a more rigorous process of proving that only critical skills quality for work permits in South Africa. Organizations have to provide proof that all necessary measures were taken in recruitment including evidence of a published national media advert seeking the required skills among the South African nationals. This would be used as part of the proof in showing that all necessary effort was applied in justifying the use of foreign skills.
This change in the skills Visa requirement would, however, not apply to Diplomats and foreign missions in their employment of personal servants from their countries, as their applications will be expressly processed through the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
The employee applying for an Inter-Company Visa, that is working for a company with branches abroad, needs to be employed with the foreign office for not less than six months before being eligible for transfer to South Africa. The Visa is now available for four years after which the foreign national will have to exit the country.
The new law also came with steep increases in administrative fines that are imposed on those who overstay and any other persons in contravention of the new Immigration Act.
When one’s Visa has expired, they are labeled “Undesirable Persons” before facing a limited ban from re-entering South Africa for periods of one, two or five years. Immigration officers at ports of entry or exit have now been empowered to ban foreigners on grounds of over-staying even for a mere two days.
Those found to have over-stayed by two to five days will be declared “Undesirable Persons” for one year. Those over-staying up to 30 days will be banned for 24 months.
The South African Government has justified the new measures as being informed by the need for the country’s laws to be in line with international immigration standards, improve national security and to curb the high incidences of abuse of the previous Immigration Act.