Recent immigration changes have determined that holders of the following categories of work permits are no longer able to apply for and be granted extensions beyond their permits’ initial validity periods:
- Quota Work Permits: Legislative changes no longer provide for this category of permits, and thus, any companies currently sponsoring employees with this type of permit will have to evaluate alternative Work Visa options if they require extensions. It should be noted that this must be done on a case-by-case basis and in certain situations, there may be no viable alternative options.
- Exceptional Skills Work Permits: Legislative changes no longer provide for this category of permits and thus, any companies currently sponsoring employees with this type of permit will have to evaluate alternative Work Visa options if they require extensions. It should be noted that this must be done on a case-by-case basis and in certain situations, there may no viable alternative options.
- Intra-Company Transfer Work Permits: With the recent changes, existing ICT Work Permits issued for the maximum duration of 24 months cannot be extended or renewed. ICT Work Permit holders who are seeking an extension must evaluate other work visa options. Foreign nationals and their employers should be aware that it is likely that the foreign national will have to leave South Africa and submit a new application for another work visa category abroad.
- General Work Permits: Existing General Work Permits may be extended or renewed but only with a certificate from the Department of Labour which details support of the application under the amended law’s terms. Due to the tedious process of obtaining the certificate from the Department of Labour, it may not be possible to receive certification and thus, alternative options may need to be evaluated. In certain situations, there may be no viable alternative options.
- Section 11(6): Spouses of South African citizens who hold Visitor’s Permits endorsed for employment are permitted to renew their statuses. Unmarried partners in permanent same-sex/opposite-sex relationships must go through an additional process. They will be required to prove that they have maintained their relationship for at least two years. If they are unable to do so, they may be denied renewal of their Visitor’s Permit status and have to evaluate alternative options.
All above changes are effective immediately and are ongoing. It is suggested that companies and foreign assignees are aware of these changes and prepare to evaluate alternative work visa options in case renewal of their current status is not viable.
Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.