Foreigners’ marriage licences next on Home Affairs’ list

2014-08-27 00:00

CAPE TOWN — All marriage licences issued in the past to foreigners are next on the To-Do-list of Home Affairs.

The step forms part of the sharpened visa regulations that came into effect in May.

Deputy director for immigration services Jackson McKay said a future project will determine if marriage licences and permanent residence permits stemming from these licenses were issued properly.

Senior officials, including director- general Mkuseli Apleni, yesterday proposed new immigration regulations to members of the parliamentary portfolio committee on Home Affairs.

Answering a question on fake marriages, McKay said the department will start a project to investigate if there are still good relations in all marriage licences involving immigrants and permanent residence permits issued with these.

Where the investigation shows the spouses do not live together, the permits will be reviewed.

He said the project is still in the starting blocks and no decision was taken on how far back the visas will be probed.

McKay said the new visa regulations had shed light on the extent to which some Europeans had been abusing South Africa’s immigration laws.

He said when illegal immigrants wanted to leave SA, they simply paid fine of between R1 500 and R3 000, “and return again tomorrow”.

He said the new regulations, which can list immigrants as undesirable, seem to act as a deterrent and more visitors now admit when they have stayed longer than their visa allowed.

Apleni said South Africans’ ID books and even citizenship were for sale on the black market before loopholes had been closed in the immigration regulations.

He said the current situation where children still have to travel with certified paper printouts of their unabridged birth certificates “will not last for ever”, as the aim is to have the certificates available in digital formats within two years.

Study visas will be issued for the duration of the study period and do not have to be renewed annually;

The department will first investigate any potential benefit to South Africa’s economy before a business visa will be issued;

In terms of the corporate visa at least 60% of staff have to be South African; and

No business visa will be issued to companies that had been declared “undesired”.

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