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Immigration Law

Travelling With Children | Home Affairs Backs Down


The new immigration law introduced by the South African Department of Home Affairs contains a section pertaining to the documentation required by children and their parents/guardians when travelling.

The new law states that both local and foreign parents who travel internationally with their children will be requested to provide unabridged birth certificates containing the father and mother’s details.

In the case of guardians who are travelling with children, these individuals will, in addition to the unabridged birth certificates, be required to provide affidavits from both parents (or a death certificate where relevant), granting permission to travel.

The new law and the travel requirements were initially said to take effect immediately, but following public outcry and media attention surrounding the matter, highlighting the short notice period as well as the lengthy waiting time for Home Affairs to issue an unabridged birth certificate, the South African Department of Home Affairs decided to extend the implementation date till the end of September.

However, despite the commencement date moving back, there are still various concerns concerning the new law. The unabridged birth certificate, for instance, is not a document that is automatically issued to parents.

If this law applies to you, we recommend that you get all the necessary documentation in order before the next big school holiday in December.

Initiate Immigration is here to help assist you through this time of change.

Feel free to contact us at:

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Department of Home Affairs Minister taken to court

High court intervenes to address giant backlog in South African Department of Home Affairs applications

On Thursday last week, the Western Cape High Court has set deadlines for temporary and permanent residency application outcomes.

This comes after major industry role players joined forces and went to court over hundreds of outstanding applications.

DEpartment of Home Affiars minister taken to court

After negotiations between the parties at Cape Town’s court building on Thursday the 13th November an order was granted that, decisions on the applications have to be delivered within certain time frames. Outstanding permanent residency applications for instance are to be processed within 60 days.

One of the applicants joining the court case, a German applicant, applied for a permanent residence permit eight years ago. He also re-applied several times. Due to delays and mishaps at the Department of Home Affairs he had not received it by the time the court application was lodged.

The applicants took to court Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, the department’s director general and the director of immigration services in the Western Cape. The matter was expected to be heard in court on Thursday. However before the start of the court proceedings the parties negotiated among themselves.

“An advocate for the respondents Anwar Albertus SC, later told the court they were avoiding going into merits of the matter because they were trying to give certain undertakings in relation to the permit applications. Further ne,gotiations then followed. “ the Cape Times reports.

Administrative capacity was blamed as the main reason why the permits could not be processed in time.

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Jobs and Visas in South Africa | A Guide | Immigration Law

The new immigration law has had a profound effect on the thousands of foreign nationals already living in South Africa, and those looking to come to South Africa and secure employment.

Although change in the immigration legal framework was necessary for a number of reasons (marriage of convenience, child trafficking, and corruption at Home Affairs) the processes which the Department of Home Affairs has chosen, have proven to be greatly misguided. This has repeatedly been seen over the past 2 weeks and has fortunately also been picked up by the media.

Once these issues have been resolved, however, it will be more important than ever for immigration consultancies to provide a sensible, honest and transparent service.

A number of immigration agents will not be able to cope with the changes and their claims that the laws are unconstitutional are based mainly on the fact that they will not be able to adapt. “Making a plan” by making false claims in applications, abusing legal loopholes, or worse by misinforming clients knowing full well that these do not qualify for a visa, will be less likely and immigration service providers will need to start adding real value instead of exploiting the system.

So, what should candidates do who are looking for a job in South Africa and who will require a visa?

1st. Step:

Update your CV. Also ensure that it looks professional. If you require templates of professional looking CVs contact us at

2nd. Step:

Visit the Initiate International website and confirm whether you fall within one of the specialist fields. If so, submit your CV on the website and our recruitment department will review your CV and will contact you of any openings.

3rd. Step:

As soon as you have submitted your CV, contact Initiate Immigration to discuss your visa options (

You will find that many companies in South Africa do not know what the requirements are to apply for a work visa. What we offer is to prepare an overview for you of your options, what the company would need to provide, and how Initiate Immigration (Pty) Ltd would guide and assist all parties through the visa process.

4th. Step:

Our consultants will also advise which steps you can take to make your job application more attractive and increase the chances of securing a job offer.

Having a recruitment and immigration department allows our (prospective) clients to be advised by experts that have experience in both fields.

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

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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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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.

Foreign nationals are advised to first contact the South African embassy to confirm if officials are informed before making any travel arrangements.

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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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