Constitutional Court Releases Groundbreaking Ruling on Visas for Foreign Parents of South African Citizens

The Constitutional Court has made a significant ruling, resulting in positive changes for foreign parents of South African citizens or permanent resident children. If you’re a foreign spouse or partner holding a Visitor’s Visa 11(6) based on your marital or spousal relationship, and unfortunately facing a divorce or the end of your relationship, there’s good news. 

There is now an opportunity to apply for a Relatives Visa within three months of the relationship’s conclusion if you have a South African citizen or permanent resident child and are actively fulfilling parental responsibilities or intend to do so.  This transition comes with the perk of retaining your right to work, and there’s no need to leave the country during the application process.

Similarly, foreign parents currently caring for or intending to fulfill parental responsibilities for their South African citizen or permanent resident child can apply for a Relative’s Visa, automatically granting the right to work. This marks a positive stride in supporting family unity and introducing flexibility into immigration regulations.

In a unanimous judgment, Chief Justice Raymond Zondo declared the Immigration Act inconsistent with the Constitution, highlighting a violation of foreign nationals’ right to human dignity. The court addressed a provision requiring foreign parents or caregivers to cease working and leave the country if their relationship with a South African partner ended, leaving South African-born children behind.

The case, brought by parents Tereza Rayment and Richard Anderson, shed light on challenges such as potential deportation and the inability to provide for their children. The court ordered a two-year suspension of the constitutional invalidity, urging Parliament to address defects in the Immigration Act. During this period, affected visas would be deemed valid, allowing parents or caregivers of South African citizen children to work for the full visa duration.

Click here to read the detailed official court case ruling.