New Visa rules: Why I overstayed my welcome

2014-06-25 10:47

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A German medical doctor Rebbeca Pargner, who has been living in West Beach, Cape Town with her South African fiancé Devan Pulliah, says she was declared an undesirable person on May 30 when she was leaving the country on her way to Germany. 

Pargner has since lodged an appeal against her five-year ban from entering South Africa, because she overstayed her visitor’s permit by 147 days - advice she says she received from the department of home affairs.

"Why I overstayed my welcome"

"In this letter I wish to name the reasons for overstaying my visa and show good causes why I should be released from being banned from the country.

I entered the RSA on July 9th 2013 on a visitor’s permit and applied for an extension thereof in August 2013. While waiting for the extension of this permit I collected all the required documents for submitting an application for temporary residence in the life partner category.

Due to the fact that I could only apply for temporary residence with a valid visa I had to wait for the extension of my visitor’s permit which was issued to me in December 2013.

On December 18th 2013 the Office of DHA in Bellville accepted my application for a temporary residence permit.

As I knew that my extended visitor’s permit would already expire on the 4th of January 2014, I asked at the Home Affairs Office in Cape Town, as well as the Office in Bellville if I had to return to my home country in the meantime or if I could remain in South Africa and wait for the outcome of my application.

"Inaccurately advised to wait it out"

Both Offices reassured me that I would be allowed to remain in the country to await the outcome of my application and furthermore was not supposed to travel overseas while my application was still pending.

I also called the Head Office in Pretoria, who confirmed this information. I was also told that I had to submit Police Clearances of my country of origin as we as from South Africa within six months from the date of submission of my application.

I immediately applied for both certificates and submitted them on the 4th of April 2014. As my visa application was still pending at that time I informed the office that I was planning to visit my home country from the 30th of May till the 9th of July 2014.

I wanted to know what would happen in case my visa wouldn’t be issued till then.

"I was told I would be fined but could return to SA"

The Office in Bellville, as well as the Head Office in Pretoria, both told me that I would be fined at the airport but however could return to the country.

On the 13th of May I enquired again about the outcome of my application and received a letter which stated that my application had been rejected as there were some documents outstanding, but that I would be allowed to make an appeal.

One day later I submitted my appeal with the outstanding documentation attached to it.  (documents attached to original appeal).

On the rejection letter it also stated that I had to enquire about the outcome of my application within 14 working days. On submission of my appeal I again asked both Offices in Bellville and Pretoria if I would still be able to leave the country and return, acknowledging that I would be fined.

Both Offices confirmed this.

On May 28th 2014 I visited the Office in Bellville again to enquire about my appeal, but it was still pending.

"Banned for five years"

On May 30th I checked in at Cape Town International Airport to visit my home country, prepared to be fined at the passport control. When I presented my passport the Immigration Officer informed me that the regulations had changed on Monday the 26th and that I would now be banned from the RSA for 5 years.

However the supervisor told me that I had the opportunity to make a written representation to you Mr Minister and Mr Director-General.

The following list has the purpose of showing you good causes why I should be released from being banned and that I am by no means an undesirable person to the RSA.

1) Throughout my entire application process I made sure to follow all instructions from the Department of Home Affairs.

I submitted all applications in time and as soon as possible. The reason why I was only able to submit the application for temporary residence within less than 30 days prior to expiry of the visitor’s permit, is, that I was only issued with the extension of the VP 4 month after my application for it.

As the DHA strongly advised me not to leave the country while my application was pending I had no other choice but to overstay my current visa. As you can see it is contradictory to advise me to stay in the country even without a valid permit and then punish me for overstaying my visa.

2) As mentioned above I asked for advice at the Head Office, the Office in Cape Town and the Office in Bellville at several occasions regarding what would happen if I had to travel overseas while still waiting for the outcome of my application.

Each time I was told that I would only be fined but not banned. The last time this information was given to me was just two weeks prior to my departure and one week before the new regulations became applicable. I can surely not be made responsible for not expecting changes to the Immigration Act just five days prior to my departure.

Throughout my application history and the time period of my overstay there were different regulations applicable and I haven’t been given a chance to know about the new regulations and act accordingly.

3) Neither in Germany, nor in South Africa, not in any other country have I ever committed any crime or acted in contradiction to the law. I have also entered the RSA multiple times and never overstayed any visa before.

I can therefore surely not be considered as an undesirable person. Being the citizen of a developed country I did not come to South Africa for material or political reasons or to escape from poverty and unemployment. I have an academic degree and enough financial means to support myself and will not be a burden to the country.

4) Since 2012 I have been living in a life partnership with a South African citizen, Mr Sagadevan Doorgayah Pulliah. We have been in a relationship since February 2012 and made this relationship official to family and friends in November 2012.

At that time we also made plans for me moving to South Africa after having graduated from medical school in Germany. Since my arrival in July 2013 we have been living together and have been sharing a household. We also confirmed our life partner status by getting an official notarized life partner agreement. We have built up a life and a future together and are planning to get married by the end of the year.

It cannot be the purpose of the Immigration Act to tear families and spouses apart if they have never committed any crime and have shown good standing at all times.

5) I am also a medical doctor and have officially been invited by the Department of Health and the Health Profession’s Council of South Africa to sit the Board Exam and work as a doctor within the RSA.

I sat exams in May 2014, have already passed the theory and am currently awaiting results of the practical exam. I am confident that this fact can convince you that I am a person who will contribute to the well-being of the South African population and that I can be considered as desirable.

I am confident that the above mentioned will convince you that I cannot be considered as an undesirable person and therefore should not be prohibited from re-entering the country.

I am looking forward to a positive outcome of this appeal and remain with my Sincere regards, Rebecca Pargne"

Click here for help with visa issues- SA

Read more on:    department of home affairs  |  cape town  |  visas  |  travel international

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