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Immigration Law

Repatriation deposit no longer required

Immigration Regulations South Africa
Changes to the Repatriation Deposit
Update 31.10.2014

Repatriation deposits will no longer be required for temporary residency applications. Applicants who prior to 26 May, 2014 paid a deposit as a guarantee of the return to their country of origin, are invited to apply for a refund from the South African Mission in their home country.

Repatriation deposits

Repatriation deposits to be refunded

In order to qualify for a refund, the refund application needs to be filed before 28th February 2015(!)

Department of Home Affairs’ offices within South Africa may only issue repatriation deposit refunds in exceptional circumstances where the person has acquired Permanent Residency or had changed their status in the Republic BEFORE 26 May, 2014.

Please note: Anybody who had overstayed their visa shall not qualify for a repatriation deposit refund. Failure to claim a refund by 28 February 2015 will result in the deposit forfeited to the State as unclaimed.

Should you have any questions with regard to claiming your repatriation deposit back, feel free to contact us for assistance.

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South African Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa now re-newable

Immigration Regulations South Africa
Changes to the Intra-Company Transfer Requirements
Update 31.10.2014

Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas enable multi-national companies to send employees to a branch in South Africa for a limited period of time.

Previously, Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas were issued for 4 years and could not be re-newed.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa South Africa

Intra-Company Transfer Visa now re-newable

The holder of an Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa as per Section 19(5) of the Immigration Act of South Africa, who wishes to continue his/her secondment may submit an application for a new Intra-Company Transfer visa.

The application will, however, need to be submitted at the South African Mission in the applicant’s country of origin or normal residence. The new visa will be issued for 4 years, provided that all requirements are met.

If you require any additional information please feel free to read up on the requirements for the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa or contact us to discuss your individual situation.

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Critical Skills Visa: Recommendation letter no longer required

Immigration Regulations South Africa
Changes to the Critical Skills Visa requirements
Update 31.10.2014

The application for the Critical Skills Visa no longer requires a recommendation letter from the accredited professional body or council. The applicant for the Critical Skills Visa will still need to have his/her foreign qualifications reviewed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), and will be required to register with the professional body or council.

Critical skills visa South Africa

Critical Skills Visa South Africa requires less admin

The registration certificate with the professional body or council will serve as confirmation that the applicant’s qualifications and relevant work experience have been reviewed by the professional body and that all requirements have been met.

The critical skills visa is considered a good visa options for foreign nationals with native European language skills or with skills that have been categorised as critical by the Department of Home Affairs.

For a complete current critical skills list 2014 follow the link. Please contact Initiate Immigration to see if you qualify for the critical skills visa.

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Travelling with Children | Good or Bad Law?

The South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced a new law pertaining to travelling with children, which will be implemented on 1st October. This law states that both local and foreign parents who travel internationally with their children will be required to provide unabridged birth certificates containing both the mother and father’s details.



The new law has created panic among local and foreign parents with travel plans, since unabridged birth certificates are not automatically issued to parents in South Africa.

Parents will need to apply for these necessary documents through the DHA and will most likely be facing long waits. Currently, the DHA takes an average of six to eight weeks to produce unabridged birth certificates, though incidents of parents waiting for over a year for the essential documentation have been reported time and again.

Nevertheless, not all parents share these concerns. Jeanie Fundora, a Safari Consultant for Travel Beyond, said: “Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. I think most U.S. parents have original copies of the birth certificates of their kids, and as a parent I think the new regulations and requirements are good. I would think that most parents should feel confident that the South African government is looking out for the safety and well-being of children traveling into South Africa.”

The president of African Travel Inc., Jim Holden, similarly shares Mrs Fundora’ s positive perspective in adding that “the new regulations could even boost South Africa’s image in the international community by showing that South Africa cares about children and is joining with the rest of the world to stamp out child trafficking.”

The South African Minister of Tourism, Mr Derek Hanekom, states that “[while] the intentions behind the gazetted immigration regulations [do] reflect South Africa‘s commitment to contributing to global efforts to combat child trafficking, we [are faced with] a dual imperative. We have to combat child trafficking by aligning our approach to global efforts, while [simultaneously] limiting damage to our competitiveness as a tourism destination.”

This leaves us with some questions. Is the new immigration law the real issue or is it the lengthy and unpredictable process of obtaining unabridged birth certificates? Should we not focus on DHA and its processes in the same way we scrutinise the new laws? Is this lack of consistency not worse than stricter rules?

For assistance with your immigration to South Africa, feel free to contact us on


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Increase in Department of Home Affairs Rejections

Immigration Act South Africa 2014 changes – Increase in Department of Home Affairs Rejections – Blog Series Part 6 – Release May 2014

Managing change is important in any setting. Changes within businesses need to be carefully coordinated to ensure that staff and clients are well informed and prepared. Any organisation planning for change needs a clear plan and strategy to ensure maximum benefit to all parties and to avoid confusion which in turn will lead to anxiety and frustration.

Visa applications are being rejected by the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa

Visa applications are being rejected by the Department of Home Affairs

When it comes to the Department of Home Affairs it seems that a clear plan or strategy is lacking. In April 2014 new immigration regulations were expected to be implemented. Some Home Affairs offices were aware of the proposed changes whereas others had never heard of or seen the proposed amendments to the immigration regulation.

Following harsh criticism from different sections of the population the Department of Home Affairs seems to have decided to take another look at the proposed new law, while failing to inform its staff to this effect.

The result seems to be that certain sections within the Department of Home Affairs have been (partially) trained or informed of the new law, expecting implementation on 1st April, but have not been informed that the new law has not been implemented and that applications continue to be submitted and are required to be adjudicated according to the current immigration framework.

For visa applicants this has led to even more inconsistency pertaining to their respective application process, with the Department of Home Affairs having started to increasingly query and reject applications at random.

This is affecting immigration agents across South Africa as well as individuals who have prepared and submitted applications on their own.

Initiate Immigration had been preparing visa applications with the current and proposed new law in mind since the publication of the proposed laws to ensure that the Department of Home Affairs had no grounds to query or reject applications.

However, applications submitted prior to the new regulations having been published seem to be affected most as some Home Affairs officials appear to be adjudicating applications according to the proposed amendment law.

The consequences of this cannot be understated and Initiate Immigration will work with other immigration companies to ensure that the interest of applicants is represented.

Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

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Retirement Visa | Immigration Law South Africa 2014

Anyone wishing to retire in South Africa can apply for the Retirement Visa, this visa allows them multiple entries into South Africa and is often an option for retired people who wish to only be in South Africa in the Summer months.

In order to qualify for the Retirement Visa, the applicant has to prove that he or she receives a minimum income of R37 000 per month.

This is in the form of:

  • Pension received, irrevocable annuity or retirement account.
  • A minimum prescribed net worth
  • It may be required for a Chartered Accountant to issue a certificate verifying this income per month and where it derives from.

For any additional information or guidance through the immigration process, feel free to contact us at:

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Immigration Law South Africa 2014 – DA calls for Debate

The South African Democratic Alliance (the governing party of the Western Cape Province), calls for South Africa’s new immigration laws to be reconsidered and debated by Parliament’s home affairs portfolio committee.

“Media reports and public outcry suggest that in less than a month the new law has already ripped apart families, dissuaded investors, and led to the suspension and even cancellation of multi-million rand film and tourism ventures.” – DA MP Haniff Hoosen

According to Hoosen, Minister Malusi Gigaba’s assertion that the Department of Home Affairs’ new immigration law of 2014 is in the best interest of South Africa’s security, is an insufficient excuse for inefficient policy.

In the past few weeks there have been multiple cases of families being ripped apart. As per the new regulations, anyone travelling on an expired permit can be declared undesirable/ banned from returning to the South Africa for up to five years.

So too, the tourism and film industry, which contributes an average of R84 billion to South Africa’s GDP is suffering at a great cost. For instance, business investments, such as the multimillion rand TV series, Homeland has been put on hold due to the new immigration law.

Furthermore, companies looking for workers with skills they cannot find locally are having difficulty with their employees entering South Africa. The outsourcing of the specific professionals, some of which are in the health sector, could have dangerous consequences on people’s lives.

Just a few weeks in and the effects of the new South African immigration laws are already vast, but “the full cost of these regulations to our local economy and the country’s reputation remain to be seen,” Hoosen said.

For any permit assistance or immigration enquiries, please feel free to contact Initiate Immigration at

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New Zimbabwean Permits for South Africa

The Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project (DZP) allowed Zimbabweans with valid passports to apply for special permits in order to legalise their stay in South Africa, provided that they could submit proof of either: employment, conducting business or attending an accredited learning institution. Applicants also needed to prove that they had a clear criminal record. Out of the 295 000 Zimbabweans who applied for this permit, 245 000 applicants were successful.

These DZP permits were originally issued for 4 years and after lengthy discussions, the Department of Home Affairs granted Zimbabwean nationals the opportunity to apply for 3 years extensions. However, it has also decreed that all DZP visas will expire on the 31st of December 2014, even those which were originally endorsed until 2016.

Going forward the new dispensation will be referred to as the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit (ZSP) . Applications for the ZSP will start on 1 October 2014, end on 31 December 2014. These permits will then be valid until 31 December 2017. All applications will be managed by VFS Global and will be adjudicated by the Department of Home Affairs.

In order to cater for the large quantity of applicants, four new VFS centres will be opening across the country. These centres will be in addition to the eleven offices that are already up and running, all of which will be dealing with the new ZSP applications. The administrative fee that will be charged for the services at VFS is yet to be determined.

In addition to the ZSP’s three year validity, Zimbabweans who would like to continue their stay in South Africa after its expiry, will have to return to Zimbabwe in order to apply for permits in terms of the Immigration Act.

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South African Visas For IT Professionals

Are you an IT professional? Have you always dreamed about moving to sunny South Africa, but you don’t know where to begin looking for a job or applying for a visa? Lucky for you, Initiate International specialises in recruiting for Information Technology AND has its very own in-house immigration service, Initiate Immigration. Initiate is the one-stop-shop to a brighter future in South Africa.



South Africa has a great shortage of skilled workers in Information Technology and Analytics, which is why as many as 15 IT careers are on the South African Critical Skills List. Careers listed on the Critical Skills List are careers that have been deemed scarce and critical in South Africa. Foreign professionals who fall into any of the categories mentioned on the list are in great demand and can thus apply for a Critical Skills Work Visa to move to South Africa.

Critical Skills Work Visas are valid for 5 years and do not require secured employment in South Africa prior to application. Holders of these visas are free to travel to South Africa and experience and explore all of its glories for up to 12 months before having to start work. It is the best work visa the country has to offer and it is available for 15 careers in IT, which are as follows:

  • AV Specialists (Anti-virus)
  • CISCO engineers
  • CISCO solutions specialist
  • Data Centre Operations
  • Database Specialists
  • Desktop support Engineer
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Integrated Developers(PHP, Perl, Java )
  • IT Security Specialist
  • Microsoft System Engineers
  • Network Analyst
  • Network Controllers
  • Network Specialists (Security)
  • Solution architects in Telecommunications and ICT
  • System Integration Specialist

If you recognise your specialisation in the list above, you can start with your application for a Critical Skills Work Visa. In order to apply for a Critical Skills Work Visa, you need to provide proof that your career field is on the Critical Skills List. The proof that is needed for this, requires that the following:

  • A confirmation, in writing, from the professional body, council or board recognised by the South African Qualifications Association (SAQA) or any relevant government department confirming the skills or qualifications of the applicant and the appropriate post qualification experience
  • Proof of application for a certificate of registration with the professional body, council or board recognised by SAQA
  • Proof of evaluation of the foreign qualification by SAQA and translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of the Republic
  • Proof of employment within 12 months after obtaining the Critical Skills Work Visa in the form of an employment contract
  • Proof of post qualification experience i.e testimonials or reference letters

Initiate Immigration will guide you through the entire immigration process and will make sure that no stone is left un-turned. Once you have your Critical Skills Work Visa sorted, you can speak to our specialist IT recruiters and start looking for the perfect IT job in South Africa. Our recruiters will ensure that you get the best salary possible, the most comfortable culture fit and the greatest job benefits.

With an immigration and recruitment consultancy in one, immigrating to South Africa has never been this easy. Let us do the paperwork and you do the travelling. Contact Initiate Immigration to start your immigration process.

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VFS Centres : What to expect

South Africa has set up 11 new visa facilitation centres which are spread across all 9 provinces. The visa centres are managed by an international outsourcing and technology services specialist known as VFS Global. The visa facilitation centres have been put into place in order to help streamline visa application processes.



The visa facilitation centres (VFS) are responsible for taking visa applications on behalf of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). They do not process visa applications, nor do they have the authority to partake in the decision making process whatsoever. The visa facilitation centre (VFS) staff members will also not be able to answer questions or offer advice pertaining to the immigration regulations or requirements. Visa applicants seeking guidance on these matters need to contact the DHA directly or get in touch with immigration companies such as Initiate Immigration.

What to expect at VFS centres:

The visa facilitation centres (VFS) only operate on weekdays Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 – 3:30. Underground parking is available to the public.

In order to secure safety and confidentiality, the security is high at the visa facilitation centres (VFS). The security guards will scan you upon arrival to ensure that you are free of any objects that could cause harm to yourself and/ or others. You will also be asked to switch off your mobile phones and refrain from taking any photographs, once you enter the centre.

To avoid unnecessary queueing, you will be issued a ticket with a unique number on it. This number will then be called once it is your turn.

For standard submission:

Once you receive your ticket, you will be seated in the standard waiting area and wait for your number to be called. Your number will be called three times in total. One call for each stage of the submission process.

1st Call

The first time your number is called, you proceed to the Quality Control counter. Here VFS officials will look through your application to confirm that all your documents are complete and correct. This takes about 30 minutes.

If your documentation is incomplete or if you do not have access to internet at home, you can use one of the three PC’s that are available to you for online bookings and for completing your online application.

2nd Call

The second time your number is called, you proceed to the Submissions counter. Here you will hand in your completed documents. This takes about 15 minutes.

3rd Call

The third time the number is called, you will be asked to provide biometric information (digital fingerprints and photographs). This also takes 30 minutes.

Your entire application should take an hour, which is an immense improvement from the 2-5 hours it used to take at the DHA. That is, without even considering the option for fast-track submission, (see below), which takes under 30 minutes to complete.

For fast-track submission:

At a cost of R500 you can fast-track your submission to a 30 minute process AND gain access to the VIP waiting area. This fee is payable at the visa facilitation centre (VFS), on the day of your submission.

The standard hour long submission process will be cut to under 30 minutes, in which time, you also get to enjoy the leather lounge suite, the flat screen TV and help yourself to free tea, biscuits and a mini bar fridge.

Overall, the experience of the new visa facilitation centres (VFS) is that they are clean, professional and efficient.

For any additional information or assistance with your visa application , feel free to contact us.

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