Change of status from Visitor’s Visa now allowed for spouses and children of South African citizens and permanent residents:

Spouses and children of South African (SA) citizens and permanent residents were prohibited from changing their Visitor’s Visas, used to enter South Africa, to other types of longer term visas, for example relative’s visas, study visas and work visas. These applicants had to travel abroad (to their home countries, although they perceived SA as their home country) file the required longer term visa application at the South African Mission, obtain the visa and then return to South Africa. This meant in practice that families were torn apart, the spouses’ right to cohabitation and children’s rights to dignity were infringed whilst the visa formalities had to be met.

The Department of Home Affairs restricts short-term work to 180-days per calendar year

Foreign nationals who are required to conduct short-term work in South Africa in circumstances which do not necessitate applying for one of the available categories of work visa require a Visitor’s Visa (issued in terms of Section 11(1)(a) of the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 (as amended) (“Act”)) with an authorisation to conduct work endorsed thereon in terms of Section 11(2) of the Act (“Visitor’s Visa 11(2)”).

How the proposed critical skills visa list could impact SA tech companies

According to Reuters, a proposed reduction to the South African critical skills visa list threatens the prospects of those hoping to immigrate to South Africa for work purposes, and also jeopardises the livelihoods of many immigrants currently working in South Africa.

The proposed version of the critical skills visa list would drastically reduce the number of skills that could qualify immigrants for a working visa.

Occupations in high demand <-> critical skills list

Comparison of occupations in high demand in 2014 and 2018:

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 14.51.14.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 14.55.30.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 14.57.06.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.15.12.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.16.48.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.19.40.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.20.44.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.21.14.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.22.57.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.23.49.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.24.38.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.24.56.png

Comparison of the occupations in high demand in 2014 and the critical skill list of 2014

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.28.04.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.31.08.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.32.16.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.34.28.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.35.17.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.36.15.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.39.54.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 15.40.49.png

Comparison of the critical skills from 2014 and the occupations in high demand of 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.11.15.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.12.34.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.13.20.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.14.00.png

Comparison Occupations in High demand 2018 and critical skills list from 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.15.13.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.15.48.png

Comparison of the critical skills from 2014 and the critical skills from 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.16.49.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.17.28.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.18.28.png
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 16.19.05.png

Major immigration law changes to hit South Africa hard: expert

Ahead of the implementation of new immigration laws and the release of a severely shortened critical skills list, South Africa’s Home Affairs Department appears to be pre-emptively clamping down on immigration and undermining efforts to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI). This is according to expert immigration lawyers, who noted that a new Bill on International Migration is expected to be available for comment in March 2019, and a new critical skills list intended to be implemented in April 2019.

Statement by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Malusi Gigaba MP, at the Media Briefing on Visa-related Reforms in Pretoria on 25 September 2018

Amendments to the current immigration regulations are in line with the October 2015 recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Immigration Regulations, which was led by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his previous capacity, as Deputy President of the Republic. 

Tears of joy after court rules against Home Affairs

There were tears of joy as the High Court in Cape Town set aside a decision by the Department of Home Affairs to refuse a stateless family's application for citizenship.

The Mulowayi family of Kensington, Johannesburg, finally found relief on Tuesday after a protected battle with the department which had refused their application for citizenship on what has now been determined to be wrongful grounds.

Important changes to Permanent Residence immigration legislation

The South African Government has recently published its long expected White Paper on International Migration which provides a policy framework for comprehensive review and overhaul of South Africa’s immigration system and the introduction of significant changes over the next two years. Amongst the most drastic of the proposed changes is the decision to replace permanent residency with a revisable – and revocable - long-term visa. 




The following administration process applies to transfers and rectifications of visa issued by the Department of Home affairs. It only applies to valid visas in lost, damaged or stolen passport.

It is not applicable to expired passport


The department of Home Affairs will only accept requests for rectifications in the following instances:

Approved: Visa labels

Names: Where the names of the applicant are incorrectly spelled or are not captured as indicates by the applicant on their application form

Visa category: Where the visa category is incorrectly captured and is not the same as the one applied for by the applicant. The visa label will only be corrected if VFS can confirm and prove theat the category as per the checklist on the pdf is correct and the category on the vusa label is incorrect.

Reference Nr.: Where the application reference number on the visa label is icorrect and does not correspond with the reference number allocates to the applicant on their original visa application form.

Dates: Where the issue date and the expiry date do not correspond, for instance where the validity period of the vsa is issued for a period longer than the period prescribed for the category applied for. Eg, a visitor's visa issued for 4 years.

Visa conditions: Where the conditions of a visa are incorrect. For example; where the applicant applied for a work visa which is granted, but has the incorrect name of the employer or the position.

Visa conditions – Secondary activities: Where the conditions on the visa were supposed to have more than one activity. For example; „to continue employment with ABSA bank as a general manager while studying with WITS university“.

The Department will accept a rectification if the visa was issued as „to continue employment with ABSA bank as a general manager“ and the applicant requests that the correct secondary activity of study be added.

Note: This will only be done if in the original application this was the full purpose of the application. This rectification does not apply to applicants who wish to add a secondary activity later after receiving the visa.

This service (Rectification) is free of charge. No DHA/VFS fee payable.


The department of Home affairs will only accept requests for visa transfers in the following instances:

Where the applicant wishes to transfer a temporary residence permit (Issued before June 2014) or temporary residence visa (Issued after June 2014) for ay of the following reasons:

  • A valid visa in a lost/stolen passport

  • A valid visa in a damaged passport

  • Avalid visa in a full passport (no sufficient pages) – VFS must verify this claim at the time of submission of application at VFC.

Important Notes:

  • The department will re-issue a new visa label with the same expiry date of the visa label in the lost/stolen/damaged passport.

  • The department will not transfer/rectify any visa label which has less than 60 days before it expires.

  • No new (additional) days/expiry dates will be given to the applicant.

  • The only new information on the new visa label will be the new VFS rectification/transfer reference number, the new passport number and the issue date.

  • The visa conditions will remain the same.

  • The application must have a written confirmation from the Department of Home Affairs regarding the validity of their visa & (where possible) the copy of the visa to be transferred. NO screen dumps from MCS or Track & Trace obtained from DHA Regional Offices or Head Office will be accepted as a proof of validity.

  • No visa transfer will be made from an expired passport to a new passport, regardless of the expiry date of that visa label

The applicant will have to make a new visa transfer (TRT) application at VFS. This service (Visa Transfer)  is NOT free of charge. There is no DHA fee but the VFS fee is payable.


  • If you wish to rectify/transfer a visa issued at a South African High Commission (abroad) after 2014.

  • If you wish to rectify/transfer a visa issued at a Regional Office of Home Affairs prior to June 2014.

  • The applicant must send an email to DHA requesting a confirmation of the authenticity and validity of their visa to be transferred/rectified. A copy of the visa (if available) and the passport details (of the passport which originally had the visa label that must be transferred) must be part of the email.

  • Once written confirmation has been received from DHA, the applicant must complete the transfers and rectification form available on the VFS website (

  • The applicant must submit the copy of the written confirmation letter together with VFS Checklist attaching any other document required (such a an affidavit issued at a South African Police Services detailing the reasons for the request).

  • If the written confirmation from DHA is positive, a new visa label with the same expiry date as the lost/damaged/stolen visa will be issued to the new passport. The visa transfer/rectification process should not be used to extend any visa or legal status of the applicant or change the visa category or conditions.

Due to the different time zones and operating hours, it may take longer to verify a visa that issued abroad. Applicants can expect a slightly longer response from DHA.


  • If you wish to rectify/transfer a cisa issued through VFS (in South Africa) after June 2014.

  • The applicant must submit a transfer/rectification application directly online and comply with the VFS transfers/rectification checklist. (NB: For visas issued via VFS there is no need to request verification from DHA)

  • On the day of submission, the manager st the VFS centre of application will prepare a written confirmation and certify that the visa label being transferred/rectified was issue and collected via VFS.

  • The written confirmation from VFS must accompany the VFS Checklist together with any other document required (such as an afficavit issued at a South African Police Services detailing the reasons for the request).

  • If the application is approved, a new visa label with the same expiry date as the lost/damaged/stolen visa will be issued to the new passort. The visa transfer/rectification process should not be issued to the new passport. The visa transfer/rectification process schould not be used to extend any visa or legal status of the applicant or change the visa category (except where it is clear that the error was made by the Department).

Please note: The Department will not re-issue any visa labels through VFS for holders of Quota Work Permits as this category has been abolished. The Visa Adjudication System of DHA is not enabled to print visas for Quota Permits. Holders of such are advised to apply for any of the new category of visas that they qualify for or contact the call entre of the Department for advice.


Section 8 of The Immigration Act stipulates that an applicant aggrieved by a decision issued by the Department may, within 10 working days from receipt of the Rejection Letter make an application in the prescribed manner to the Director-General for the review or appeal that decision.

In terms of procedure a negative decision already issued by the Department can only be reviewed by following the Appeal process. N o requests for a review of any negative decision will be accepted if it is not submitted as an Appeal. All requests for review of a decision as a result of:

  • Mistakes perceived to have been made by the adjudicator

  • Where the applicant believes that they have been rejected on a wrong category

  • Rejection reasons considered to be wrong by the applicant

  • Where the adjudicator claims that one or more supporting documents were not in the application but the applicant insists that the documents were attached

  • Any other negative reason not mentioned above

Where there are spelling/typing or material errors in the rejection letter related to the reference number, visa category and names of the applicant, the VFS manager should send an email to the relevant manager at DHA for correction. There is no rectification of the desisions contained in the rejection letter.


Immigration Regulation 2(3) states that „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 od departure from the Republic“.

A temporary residence visa should not be issued for any validity period that exceeds the expiry date of a passport. A visa issued beyond the expiry date of a passport. A visa issued beyond the expiry date of a passport shall immediately lapse on the same date that the passport expires and will not be transferred to a new passport.

A visa issued with an expiry date beyond that of a passport is considered to have been issued in error and when discovered shall be withdrawn. In terms of section 48 of the immigration Act 2002, as amened, no illegal foreigner shall be exempt from the provision of this Act or be allowed to sojourn in the Republic on the grounds 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.

Black Pen Immigration lifts the veil on the confusion surrounding South African immigration law.


The bureaucratic demands in South Africa which can tie anybody wanting to immigrate to South Africa in knots are more often than not a nightmare of red tape which seems insurmountable for many prospective immigrants, tying them up in a mass of confusion which becomes a daunting and discouraging experience.

The experienced international immigration lawyers that form the highly successful and well respected core at Black Pen Immigration take all the negativity surrounding the process of immigration to South Africa off your hands, ensuring that the acquisition of the correct visas required will be a streamlined service based on many years worth of global experience in the field of immigration.

The dedicated team at Black Pen Immigration assist a wide range of clients in all aspects of individual and business immigration, offering honest and transparent guidance based on their global immigration experience and knowledge, as well as a commercial background that makes navigating the complex area of immigration to South Africa a lot simpler.

Black Pen Immigration keeps pace with all the changes and new laws that come into being from time to time, ensuring that their clients, individual and corporate, are fully protected and up to date with the latest in South African Immigration Laws, ensuring that there is no misunderstanding of the laws which could lead to serious problems at a later stage.

The Black Pen website includes a page containing a questionnaire which will enable you to determine in broad terms which type of visa you would need to apply for, and should you have any specific queries, the team at Black Pen Immigration are available to give you open and honest advice to narrow down your options.

No matter which type of visa you require, Black Pen Immigration has a wealth of experience to offer in order to unravel any red tape you may get caught up in!

Asylum Seekers and Refugees in major victory as High Court strikes down Immigration Directive 21

In a very comprehensive judgment handed down today in the High Court of South Africa , Western Cape Division, Immigration Directive 21 of 2015 barring Refugees and Asylum seekers form applying for a change of status to any Visa or Permit in terms of the Immigration Act has been declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic and invalid and set aside.

Foreign graduates of SA’s universities can soon apply for permanent residence

Foreign students will soon be allowed to apply for permanent residence once they have graduated from a South African university, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said on the 22nd of April.

Malusi Gigaba

Introducing his budget vote debate in an extended public committee of the National Assembly, Mr Gigaba said international students constituted a key segment that is prioritised by governments globally, because of the economic and social benefits they offer host countries in terms of adding to the skills base, and contributing positively to society more broadly.

"The first of these initiatives, to be formally launched in the coming weeks, is a special exemption to allow graduate international students in critical skills areas to qualify for permanent residence permits upon graduation.

"This measure is to ensure that SA benefits from all of the skills produced by its universities, and to make it easier for international students who want to work or start business in SA after graduation to do so," Mr Gigaba said.

He explained that in terms of the new white paper being developed, issues of the integration of immigrants in South African society will receive prominent attention.

Mr Gigaba also said that steady progress was being made in modernising and digitising the Department of Home Affairs in order to transfer service delivery concerns from the client to the department.

"The live capture system, which supports the Smart ID Card and the passport, offers South Africans a glimpse into the future of Home Affairs.

"In this regard, we have issued 4.1-million smart ID cards to date and have met our target of 2.2-million smart ID cards issued last year. We aim to issue another 2.2-million cards this year," Mr Gigaba said.

SOURCE: Business Day Live