New SA visa rules for Zimbabweans: 6 major changes

via Bulawayo24 NEWS | New SA visa rules: 6 major changes by Robbie Ragless 28 May 2014

The newly gazetted immigration rules have been called unconstitutional with considerable legal upheaval expected.

While government believes it has drawn a clear distinction between short-stay and long-stay permanent residency visas, Robbie Ragless, CEO at New World Immigration believes these changes have been implemented too hastily.

According to Ragless, a clear outline of the costs for each visa has not been made available and the involvement of the Department of Labour and the Department of Trade and Industry in certain application processes means it has become extremely cumbersome and riddled with delay opportunities – already an issue for the industry.

The Department of Home Affairs has contracted VFS to receive all applications but was reportedly still accepting applications until the official handover has taken place.

Following is an outline of the key issues surrounding the major rule changes:

1. Life Partner and Spouse Visas

Initially, government wanted proof that spouses or life partners have been together for at least 5 years before an application for a permanent or temporary residency could be made. This has since been changed to 2 years. Life Partners will however need to attend an interview “on the same date and time to determine the authenticity of the existence of their relationship”.

Issues arise when changes or extensions have to be applied for – with certain applications only eligible if done from the person’s original country of residence.

2. Changing Visa status while in South Africa

The application period has been changed from 30 days prior to the expiry of the current visa to 60 days. According to New World Immigration, Home Affairs is already plagued with visa application backlogs and this new period would negatively impact the approval process.

The new regulations also state that a person cannot change from a visitor’s visa into another type of visa and these applications for change of conditions must be made at a mission abroad – ie an embassy or consulate.

Under the “old legislation”, it was possible to apply for a temporary residence permit whilst using a visitor’s visa but the “new legislation” now prohibits any foreigner from applying for a temporary residence permit using a visitor’s visa.

Those who are using a visitor’s visa in South Africa would now need to leave and apply in their own country of residence.

If a person’s visitor visa has expired, they would need to seek legal advice about exiting South Africa as immigration officials have been advised to ban any foreigners for overstaying – by making them an undesirable person for 1 year, 2 years or 5 years.

3. Business Visas

This visa sees a more forensic approach in the new application process. Businesses will now need to get a recommendation letter from the Department of Trade and Industry and business visas will only be granted for 3 years at a time.

4. Critical Skills Visa

The Quota and Exceptional skills work permits have been replaced by the Critical Skills permit but the list of Critical Skills has not been published.

5. Intra-Company Visas

The employee will need to be employed with the foreign office for no less than 6 months before being eligible for transfer to South Africa. The visa will now be available for 4 years.

6. Fines

There has also been a massive increase in the administrative fines to be issued to those who overstay and any other persons who are in contravention of the act. Also, if a visa has expired foreigners face a ban labelling them an undesirable person for 1 year, 2 years or 5 years.

For advice on the New Regulations contact New World Immigration on  +27(0)21 555 0951 or submit an inquiry on their website.


  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 8 years ago


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    gorongoza 8 years ago

    This is NOT for Zimbabweans. Its for all foreigners. Stop exxagarating things.

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    Straight Shooter 8 years ago

    Dismantle the very Zimbabwe entity and incorporate it into South Africa as part of a Southern African Federal Government – more along the lines of the old Federation of Southern Rhodesia (Rhodesia), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia) and Nyasaland. This is the only way to solve this Zim problem. Henceforth, economic policy would be dictated from Pretoria, not Harare.

    They can come up with all sorts of immigration rules, it will never work. In the first place, nobody can tell how many Zims are in Mzansi right now. Some of us have had relatives living in SA since the 1940s – many just got citizenships via local IDs – not having been born in SA and nothing has ever happened to them. You simply cant tell them apart from the local Zulu speaking people.

    Lesotho citizens cross the border from SA every weekend back to Lesotho to bury their dead. Nothing happens to them. Everybody complains about Zims because of their numbers – but because Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia’s populations are small; at about a million or so in each case, nobody bothers – they simply look the other side.

    Eric Honnecker’s East Germany was incorporated into West Germany despite its poverty, how come it has all worked out well? Even them had East Germans flocking into West Germany legally and illegally – now that problem is gone!!

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      Proudly South African 8 years ago

      sorry to burst your bubble Mr Straight shooter. THere is a new process that’s going to be inplace when the I.D. Smart cards are issued which will mean that all those I.D’s without supporting documents will be CANCELLED and rendered Null and VOid.

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        Straight Shooter 8 years ago

        Proudly South African
        This is why I say you are not South African; you are just lying. It is impossible in South Africa to get a genuine South African ID without supporting documents. Those with genuine SA IDs have supporting documents, such as late birth registration documents. Again, in the early 1994s, the SA government granted citizenship under then Minister of Home Affiars Mongosutho Buthelezi to many Mthwakazi citizens – I have cousins with IDs clearly written Place of Birth: Bulawayo Zimbabwe.

        Wena, you are obviously talking about false IDs. Here individuals use other people’s IDs, names and merely insert izithombe zabo. No, I am not talking about those.

        Don’t allow your hatred of Zimbabweans or any other African foreigners for that matter to blind your from the facts/reality on the ground!!

        • comment-avatar
          Petal 8 years ago

          Mr South African
          when are those at the top in south africa facing corruption charges Guptagate and many others

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    Petal 8 years ago

    South Africa like any other african state is corrupt -it has failed to deal with the massive fraud cases committed by people at the top

    Southern African Dictators Club too have failed the ordinary people of the region they are just bloody useless would love to tell them to their faces.
    would love to read that Imbisa to push for a seat ASAP or the Grand Coalition are talking these idiots made up of theiving thugs

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    Petal 8 years ago

    as well as the African Union they are all in it for themselves bloody useless people they are the very people advocating racism and tribalism on the continent

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    Petal 8 years ago

    This SADC does not have the balls to talk to migrant organisations or members of civil society regarding their ordinary citizens they are a waste of time and space someone needs to tell these idiots that walk around in designer suits to their faces

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    maita 8 years ago

    What about if I am going their for a visit or maybe a short course do I need all these visa regulations thing

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    Wilbert Mukori 8 years ago

    The way I see it Zimbabweans must redouble their efforts to sort out the mess back home so the Zimbabwe economy can be put back on track a.s.a.p. because as long as there are so many Zimbabweans in SA for whatever reasons the pressure for them to leave will remain. We had our best chances ever to do this during the GNU but MDC wasted these chances.

    What is disappointing is that few Zimbabweans have yet to seat down and grasp what went wrong; in other words the nation is set to waste future chances too because we have once again failed to learn from the past. How many Zimbabweans in SA and back in Zimbabwe will be adversely affected by these changes – hundreds of thousands! How many of them have been paying close attention to what has been happening back home, specifically to the MDC blunder of failing to implement the reforms – a tiny minority. As for the rest, they still do not know what these reforms were about! Tigere hengu! well now they are going to pay the price for their cavalier attitude.

    People get the government they deserve, there can be no question we deserve this Zanu PF dictatorship!

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      Straight Shooter 8 years ago

      Wilbert Mukori
      The current opposition as represented by the MDC-T will never help change the situation in Zim – this is the problem. Unfortunately Tswangirayi who is the culprit here commands support among the masses.

      Due to the culture of hero-worshipping leaders and a belief in unquestioning loyalty, people are not prepared to look at alternatives – so Zims are stuck in the quagmire!

      There is too much pride in the MDC-T, especially in Tswangirayi himself, because he has the numbers. I am sure he genuinely knows that he has been undemocratic in may ways than one within his party, but he will never admit to it.

      All these unnecessay rallies he has been having (now cut short by the intervention of the almighty)are not meant for anything but to brag to those challenging him that he still has the numbers.

      We all know he has the numbers, but that is not the point. The point is a sustainable future for the country’s political systems – to introduce genuine democracy in Zim, that is a total departure from the way gukurahundi ZANU PF does things.

      Its not about simply “removing Mugabe”; which, as it appears is what he is on about with his grassroots support mantras.

      This arrogance in numbers is what drives him to continuously ignore calls to talk to his fellow opposition opponents; but instead he chooses to continuously and embarassingly beg for an audience with Mugabe, who never minces his words in publicly shouting his disdain and hatred for the man.

      The man never learns that this is the same attitude that led him to go to sleep and fail to demand more reforms from ZANU PF during the so-called inclusive government. Once Mugabe pretends to accomodate him, the man gets excited and he immediately goes to sleep.

    • comment-avatar
      Pedro Pinto 8 years ago

      Mukori must not blame MDC What hav you done yourself,we havent seen anything yet( hatisati)

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    Petal 8 years ago

    would love to see some ACTION from the ordinary people who are suffering and those organisations that represent them they need to sleep outside the offices of SADC and govet. in south Africa – there has been enough talk

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    Straight Shooter 8 years ago

    Ricky Bobby?
    Your economies are not great my friend. Zim’s problems can never be isolated to Zim alone – these economies are interlinked. Besides, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland just dont have the numbers – you can not call such economies great.

    In fact these countries are actually running the risk of being taken over by foreigners or recolonised via the immigration of those with the skills and capital; people such as the Indians, Chinese and Whites. How do you develop when you dont have the numbers, please explain?

    There is no internal local demand to leverage on local resources in these countries and this impedes economic development. Ever heard of the term “ECONOMIES OF SCALE”? This is not possible in these countries.

    Countries like Germany and other EU countries are encouraging immigration of highly technically skilled people because they are experiencing negative population growth rates and this makes them uncompetitive in global terms.

    South Africa is now a member of the BRICS – Botswana, Russia, China and South Africa; a grouping of middle income developing countries.

    Of all the BRICS’s five member countries, South Africa is the only country with a population of less than 100 million people, currently at about 53 million.

    It is for this reason SA is not a BRICS member in its own right; but is representing Africa as a whole. With the rest of the continent, we are then talking of a population of almost 1 billion people and this gives SA the muscle when engaging other BRICS countries.

    Without including the rest of Africa, SA’s membership is irrelevant and mere posturing, if you ask me.

    The problem that you have Ricky Bobby is self-hatred as an African, and you are projecting it onto your fellow black Africans, as your contribution above shows.

    If you check, most Batswana virtually worship white people, but will have nothing to do with blacks from neighbouring countries and even beyon. This is the same problem with black South Africans – self-hate!!

    Europeans find it easier to set themselves up as the European Union, because they dont have complexes of self-deprecation that black Africans suffer from. Out of self-hate, black Africans are now the biggest enforcers of national borders, whose creation in Berlin in the 1800s, they were never a part of in the first place.

    The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was only possible because there were no black Africans involved. It was done by the then colonial white administrations. Because of self-hate blacks, find it hard to create such arrangements. Even the regional body SADC is struggling because of this self-hate.

    Without even considering a Federation, regional integration in SADC itself, which is their ultimate aim, will never see the light of day – because of black African self-hate!!

  • comment-avatar
    HIGHWAY 7 8 years ago


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    skha... 8 years ago

    I believe everyone should take time to put themselves in the shoes of Zimbabweans they fled their country for a better life and and some from oppression.