SA New Immigration Law – Review One Year After The Introduction

by Andreas Krensel, Partner by Dirk Meissner, Partner at IBN

South Africa – the new immigration law – a review one year after the introduction

South Africa issued its latest amendment to the Immigration Regulations in May 2014. The main objectives of the updates to the immigration framework are: the protection of jobs for South African nationals (or PR holders) and the attraction of skills and investment needed for the advancement of the economy and South Africa as a whole. 14 months after their introduction, I wish to offer my personal opinion on what is working and what is not working.

A new way of submitting all applications – the Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS).


Applications submitted in South Africa have to be lodged at VFS. Subsequently the entire application pack will be sent to the Department of Home Affairs in Pretoria for adjudication. No knowledge with regards to the contents can be expected from VFS officials. The organisation functions as a structured and organized ‘mailbox’, captures applicants’ biometric data and eventually facilitates either the endorsement of a visa in the passport or distribution of an official rejection letter.

On the other hand we see that the percentage of lost applications has decreased quite significantly and that overall processing times have improved to more or less 8 weeks for any temporary residence. On the other hand VFS adds considerable costs to the application process with ZAR 1350,- per application. Their fees are in addition to the still existing Department of Home Affairs fees. A family of four has to pay over ZAR 5.000,- for the mailbox services. Please bear in mind that the level of quality for the adjudication has not improved. It is rather the opposite. We and also other Immigration firms see a very high percentage of wrongfully adjudicated applications, much higher than before the introduction of VFS. Of course VFS also charges the above fee, if the wrongfully adjudicated applicant then has to submit an appeal. (read more…)

IBN - Andreas Krensel - Pam Golding Hospitality Partners
Andreas Krensel

Partner at IBN

Dirk Meissner - Pam Golding Hospitality Partners
Dirk Meissner

Partner at IBN