New visa rules could see long-term foreign residents having to leave South Africa
Changes to new immigrant legislation could mean that many long-term foreign residents are no longer eligible to remain in South Africa.
In a column for the Mail & Guardian, immigration attorney Stefanie de Saude-Darbandi, said that the new legislation is likely to implemented in the next few months.
However, many provisions are still vague with little understanding of the possible impacts, she said.
Citing a Department of Home Affairs white paper, de Saude-Darbandi noted that the aim of the new policies are to ‘increase South Africa’s international competitiveness for critical skills and investment in such a manner that it contributes to the achievement of national development goals’.
With this goal in mind, the white paper proposes that the granting of citizenship to foreigners be considered as exceptional and require an executive decision of the minister, and calls for a points-based system for permanent residence and citizenship, she said.
It will also effectively scrap the current system of being able to apply for naturalisation after spending a number of years in the country – replacing it with a long-term residence visa, which should be renewed at intervals.
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