New immigration regulations 'unconstitutional'

2014-05-27 12:42


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Cape Town - The newly gazetted immigration regulations are unconstitutional, Global Migration SA said on Tuesday.

"These new regulations may trigger a raft of litigation with respect to obvious omissions and constitutional issues," Global Migration SA managing director Leon Isaacson said.

The regulations, which came into effect on Monday, introduce a new visa regime for South Africa.

The new regulations draw a clear distinction between short-stay visas and long-stay permanent residence permits.

It also stipulates that visa applications need to be made by applicants in person, and those wanting to change the status of their visa can no longer do so in South Africa but have to do so at missions abroad.

"It will be difficult to submit an application from Monday 26th May as the vast majority of the home affairs offices or missions abroad are not aware of their responsibilities," Isaacson said.

Requirement lists

"Most [missions] do not have complete requirements lists, they do not know what fees to charge, and neither do they have essential information like lists of critical skills, financial requirements and other elements essential for applicants to make a valid application."

Global Migration SA foresaw additional problems with the provision that the feasibility of prospective business ventures and the benefits for the South African economy would be assessed before a business visa was granted.

As part of such an application, the trade and industry department would have to make a recommendation.

"A key factor which impacts on investment inflows and foreign staff working in South Africa revolves around making it easier for them to conduct business in South Africa," Isaacson said.

"The additional administrative burden on applicants together with slow processing of applications, compulsory overseas filings, and a generally unfriendly set of rules will sadly make investors think twice about our country as their first choice in Africa."

The provision forcing foreign spouses to prove they had been in a relationship for two years was also deemed unconstitutional by Isaacson.

"We are of the view that the minister of home affairs in the new administration announced on Sunday 25th May will have a torrid introduction to office, as litigation is expected for various interest groups in the near future," he said.

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