SA Tightens Immigration Law

SOUTH Africa’s recently amended immigration law has been criticised by foreigners, including Namibian students, after it emerged that one can be blacklisted for a year for leaving the country without renewing their visa.

The new regulations, which have been posted on the Ministry of Home Affairs website, state that every foreigner must renew their visas before leaving the country or they risk a 12-month blacklisting.

In the past, foreign students and workers could leave the country while their visa documents were being processed and use their receipts to show that they had not overstayed in the country.

It is, however, not the case anymore, as the new law requires that one has all their documents ready before travelling out of the country.

The law also requires spouses and their life partners to prove that they have been in a relationship for at least two years when applying for a visa. Additionally, all children must have their own passports and over-stayers will no longer be fined but be declared undesirables. Namibia’s ambassador to South Africa Julius Shiweva confirmed the new law but said they are yet to be formally informed on the decision to change the law, since it will have serious implications on students and other people.

“We will try and find out the underlying reasons why the law was changed and inform people so that no one falls victim to this new law,” said Shiweva.

An article in the business day recently said one of the victims of the changes warned all foreigners of the new law after she had been blacklisted.

The victim, a British married to a South African with whom she has a 14-month-old baby, was barred from entering the country for 12 months.

The woman’s visa expired last month and she had applied for a spousal permit two months before that. Under the old law, if one presented the receipt that they applied, they are not regarded as having overstayed, but that has changed.

Source : The Namibian