The PM Immigration Pty Ltd News page is used to circulate newsworthy items for individuals considering immigration to South Africa as well as individuals currently living in South Africa. These posts are aimed at keeping you informed about topics and issues related to immigration, immigration procedures, immigration applications, VISA updates and more as the information becomes available to us.

Visa Amendment highlights

  1. The new Critical Skills list is expected to be released in April 2019 – The Department is currently engaging with the respective Government Departments and Business Sector for their input.
  2. Permanent Residency for graduates within the Critical Skills Sectors is being further promoted to retain these skills, this will include temporary resident Critical Skills Work Visas for graduates not opting for Permanent Residency.
  3. 10 year Business Visas for BRICS countries issued within 5 days. These applications further may be submitted via courier. This is aimed at boosting investment from countries such as India and China.
  4. Visa free travel I being negotiated with numerous countries across Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean.
  5. Ease of travel for minors to promote tourism.



What is the Best Age to Immigrate?

Whether they follow through with it or not, just about everybody considers the possibility of immigration at some point or another. It’s a wide world out there with plenty of places to settle in, and there is something about the human spirit that craves new beginnings, adventures and changes.

But immigration is not an activity to be taken lightly, many immigration applications come alongside some stringent requirements that for some, cannot be overcome easily. In such cases, you need to have few to no responsibilities, plenty of room for growth, and enough energy to start a new life, somewhere else. This begs the question of which age-groups fair the best when looking to move abroad. The answer is not so surprising; youth counts for a lot.

Immigration is Easier Before your 30s

There’s something about leaving the comfort of your 20’s that changes a lot about life. In terms of immigration, those below this age are far more likely to submit a successful immigration application than those who are older. Even with the applications aside, waiting past your 30s to immigrate can make things a little more complicated. Finding employment and settling down with all your creature comforts can be a challenge. While immigrating after your 30’s have arrived is doable, those under that age will find the going far smoother.

Having Responsibilities Complicates the Matter

Tying on to the age factor, having an assortment of responsibilities like debt, a home, pets and especially children, makes the process of immigration a little more complicated, not only for the person looking to immigrate, but also with regards to their application. Since, in modern times, people tend to put off having  children, moving  out and accruing debt until they have gotten the most out of their 20’s, this is also the age where immigration becomes a little easier.

The Youth have Room to Grow

In terms of what you have to offer your destination country, and with regards to how well you handle the whole experience of immigration, the youth have quite a bit more to offer, simply because they still have a lot of developing and changing to do.

Those in their twenties are not yet set in their ways, making the cultural shock of immigrating more of an adventure than a hassle.

Furthermore, embassies know that younger candidates are able to adapt culturally, socially and professionally, meaning that they likely have more to offer; and so they stand more of a chance of a successful application.

Contact PM Immigration for Details

Of course, with the right assistance, people can immigrate at just about any age. To find out more about how our team of immigration law specialists here at PM Immigrationare able to assist you with your application, contact us today. For additional details, feel free to take a look at our website.

Unabridged birth certificates scrapped in time for festive season

As the festive season approaches, the department of home affairs will scrap regulations requiring parents travelling with minors to present an unabridged birth certificate at ports of entry.

Speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said minors will still require the consent of both parents to leave the country. Children may travel however, with a birth certificate and a minor passport, which is in the process of being rolled out, and is in line with section 18 (3)© of the Children’s Act .

Rules from 2014 had stipulated that minors had to carry an unabridged birth certificate and have parental consent to travel.

In an interview with Radio 702 last week, David Frost, CEO of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association said, “We know in the first year when the unabridged certificate requirement was being placed, 13 000 people were being turned away from points of embarkation but the real cost is people considering South Africa as a destination, coming across the requirements and then simply going to alternate destinations.”

Foreign minors will not have to carry parental consent and birth certificate with the new visa amendments. However, their parents will have to carry the documentation for their children, and travellers will have the opportunity to prove parental consent or relations to the child.

These changes, Gigaba promised, will be implemented “in good time before the festive season”.

“The department of home affairs, is committed to managing immigration in a way that advances our national development, security and our international obligations,” Gigaba said.

“It is a challenge inherent in immigration management to protect, prevent and act against these risks,” Gigaba added.

In an effort to retain critical skills, the government will make it easier for international graduates to stay in South Africa.

If an international student studied and graduated with a critical skill in South Africa, they may be eligible for permanent residence. Gigaga said however, “If you pursue a course outside the critical skill list, you will have to follow the normal steps to gain permanent residency.”

However, the list of what constitutes being highly skilled has yet to be discussed or finalised.

The changes had been finalised during a September 19 Cabinet meeting. These include changes to regulations applying to foreign minors travelling to South Africa, visa waivers, and relaxation of visa requirements for certain countries namely Nigeria, China and India.

According to Gigaba, travellers from India and China will be issued a 10-year multiple entry visa within five days of application, instead of the previous five-year multiple entry visa.

“We play a critical role in admitting over 10-million international visitors annually, which includes tourists, investors and neighbours,” said Gigaba. “Millions of jobs are sustained by the economic activity generated by these travellers.”

Gigaba said he wanted to make travel for visitors who support the growth of the economy as easy as possible, “while guarding against travellers who do not abide by our laws, those who overstay and persons associated with transnational threats such as organised crime, human trafficking, and terrorism.”

Other changes include an e-visa and e-gate. The latter will be piloted at Cape Town, King Shaka, and OR Tambo international airports to allow returning South African citizens, and trusted travellers — international travellers who visit South Africa frequently and do not have a criminal record — to use a self-service kiosk, lessening the number of people interacting with an immigration officer.

Gigaba said that South Africa was developing a biometric control movement in order to clear travellers quickly on arrival. The system has been piloted at Cape Town, Lanseria and OR Tambo and King Shaka airports. It has also been piloted at six of the country’s key land ports and processes are at an advanced stage to overhaul systems at land ports that have led to congestion.

“These measures have the potential to boost tourism and make business travel a lot more conducive. Tourism continues to be a great job creator and through these measures we are confident that many more tourists will visit South Africa,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.

Source: Mail and Guardian

Call for naturalisation applicants to update details

The Department of Home Affairs has called on all foreign nationals who have applied for citizenship through naturalisation to approach offices where they lodged their applications so that they can urgently update their contact details.

The department is concluding its adjudication processes to be followed by induction and naturalisation ceremonies scheduled to take place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in August.

“The department has noted that in some instances application processes take longer than expected, resulting in some of the applicants changing their contact details or even losing them. This has proven difficult for the department to reach a number of the applicants,” the department said.

Applicants for naturalisation are urged to constantly check their status of application or progress with the office of application as approved applications that require signing of “Declaration of Allegiance” will only be valid for a period of six months from date of approval as appearing on 035.

Any expired period of signing the “Declaration of Allegiance” will be considered as non-compliance. The application process would immediately lapse and an applicant for naturalisation would be required to lodge a new application.

New PE Refugee Reception office to start operations in October

After numerous setbacks and years of waiting, the Department of Home Affairs is now set to officially open a new Refugee Reception Office in Port Elizabeth in October this year.

In 2011, the Department of Home Affairs announced the decision to close the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Office (PE RRO), for new asylum applicants.

“This was due to the local business community in the vicinity that was exerting pressure on the department, saying the office was a nuisance factor calling for immediate action. The department had to contend with court challenges against further operations of the PE RRO in the area, eviction orders and the refusal of the landlord to renew the lease agreement,” said spokesperson, Thabo Mokgola.

“From the research it conducted, the department had established that clients, who sought asylum in the region primarily entered the country through the northern borders that had asylum facilities. In addition, and learning from the obtaining challenges, the department was seized with the task of conceptualising the relocation of asylum services to strategic areas, closer to where the majority of asylum seekers entered the Republic. Port Elizabeth was not such a point of entry.

“The records held at the PE reception office had indicated that those applying for asylum had hailed from China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Somalia, Ethiopia and other places. According to Home Affairs, none of them used Port Elizabeth as a port of entry.

“Home Affairs said that even after bowing to the pressure to close the Port Elizabeth office, the department continued rendering services to asylum seekers, who had already applied for refugee status. New applicants applied at the Durban, Musina and Pretoria refugee offices.”

The department was petitioned to reopen the office, by, among others, the Somali Association of South Africa and the Project for Conflict Resolution and Development. A March 2015 order of the Supreme Court of Appeal brought the matter to finality.

It ordered that the refugee reception services to the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Centre be restored such that new applicants for asylum would be able to make applications in terms of the Refugees Act (130 of 1998) and, if they qualify, to be issued with permits.

“Subsequently, with the Department of Public Works (DPW), the department embarked on a process to find suitable accommodation for the office in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Area,” explained Mokgola.

“The challenge was ensuring that the site identified for the new office took into consideration the lessons learned, including from previous sites. The department had to accommodate the needs of both refugees and asylum seekers as well as those of neighbouring communities.

“A setback was experienced when the first bidding process was cancelled, in 2016, after a bid recommendation was made. Learning from previous experience, Public Works had negotiated with the prospective landlord to add a clause that would allow for the termination of the contract in the event that a legitimate claim was lodged against the use of the building as a refugee reception office.

“During those administrative processes, the landlord withdrew from the bidding process. Other site problems that were experienced, were constantly reported to the relevant stakeholders.”

Finally, a new site was secured, at 10A Gidbaud Road, Telkom Building, Sydenham (Lakeside), Port Elizabeth, following DPW’s procurement process.

“As promised, and in compliance with the court order, we were assured that the new building was completed in line with specifications, properly and humanely to meet the clients’ requirements.

“Accordingly, it is with a profound sense of relief that the handover ceremony was made possible, to officially pronounce on the state of readiness to reopen the office. We will finalise procurement and installation of office-related assets in the coming months,” Mokgola described.

He said that it is envisaged that the relocation of IT infrastructure will be completed, at the earliest, at the end of June ahead of the opening of services to new asylum seekers, earmarked for end of October 2018.

“The department will relocate its officials and services from the old refugee centre, to the new facility, from end of July 2018. All existing clients receiving services from the old office will be advised to use the new office, from 25 June 2018.

“The new office will provide adequate accommodation with which to extend better services to persons with legitimate claims. It has a streamlined process flow, as wells as open spaces, baby-changing stations and multiple ablution facilities. Provision has also been made to accommodate the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs, Appeal Board hearings, and immigration inspectorate facilities, as was explained during the tour of the building<” Mokgola said.

“We concur with the Supreme Court of Appeal that the condition of being a refugee connotes a special vulnerability as refugees by definition are persons in flight from the threat of serious human rights abuse. It has not and will never be an intention on our part to disrespect the courts, or to fail to comply with court decisions. As a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention, we remain committed to our international obligation fully to ensure the rights of refugees are upheld.

“Our work speaks for itself. Among other things, an automated booking system was implemented at Desmond Tutu Refugee Centre in Pretoria, to better manage the flow of newcomers. The new automated booking system will also be rolled out in this office – PE – and be provided for the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office.

“We are ready to address problems as they arise. How this is handled matters. The more judicious, the better. It may prove counter-productive to stir emotions without submitting concrete facts, for investigation and resolution. How people are treated will improve to the extent that we work together to remove obstacles.”

Next week, the department will join the international community, on World Refugee Day, in commemorating the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees.

“We are amending immigration and refugee legislation so as to find alignment with the goal of promoting human rights, socio-economic development and security. The department will continue fighting the twin-evil of corruption and bribery, in the spirit of Batho Pele.

“We will continue motivating officials to be professional, patriotic and loyal to the state and the people, at all times. Officials should know that the success of South Africa’s new dawn relies on building a professional public service and a capable state,” Mokgola added.

He said that on the matter of the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office, the department has commenced with plans to comply with the court order.

“A budget has been allocated, and funding for the filling of key posts has been prioritised. Home Affairs depends on Public Works for the provision of suitable office accommodation, just as it did with this new building for PE,” Mokgola said.

At a handover ceremony held on Friday, which was attended by the Regional Manager of the Department of Public Works, Johan Van der Walt, and Home Affairs Director-General, Mkuseli Apleni, it emerged that the offices will have glass doors and are separated with a see-through glass, which would allow supervisors to see what is happening in all the offices without only relying on cameras.

According to the Head of Facilities in the Department of Home Affairs, Vukani Nxasana, the reason for such transparency is to eliminate corruption and bribery in the facility.

Inside the premises, there is also a waiting area for those awaiting deportation, which is separated into sections for women, men and children.

“The building will accommodate the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs, Appeal Board hearings and immigration inspectorate facilities,” Apeleni said.

“We concur with the Supreme Court of Appeal that the condition of being a refugee connotes a special vulnerability as refugees by definition are persons in flight from the threat of serious human rights abuse. It has not and will never be an intention on our part to disrespect the courts, or to fail to comply with court decisions.

“As a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention, we remain committed to our international obligation fully to ensure the rights of refugees are upheld.”

He added that to manage the workflow, a new automated booking system will be rolled out at the facility

“Opening the new PE building for refugees and asylum seekers promises to be yet another way of ridding South Africa of negative narratives of disillusionment and pessimism,” he said.

When asked how much was spent and would be spent to complete the facility, Apleni said that money was not a concern as the driving force was to provide the best facility for refugees. 

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