We wish to bring to your attention a significant update regarding our interactions with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).
A Change in Policy
Recently, the Home Affairs Call Centre (HACC) communicated an update to their communication systems that directly affects IBN Immigration Solutions and immigration consultancy firms. Effective immediately, the Department of Home Affairs has been advising that they will no longer respond to enquiries from companies and law firms, such as ours, making follow-ups on behalf of our clients.
To obtain any feedback or updates related to our client’s applications, we would now be requested to submit a formal request in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA request), and pay a fee associated with obtaining such information.
Officially the response time by Home Affairs to a PAIA request should be 30 working days, but we would anticipate that this timeline will not be met. Further, there is a likelihood that the information that can be obtained might be minimal, such as simply advising that the application is being processed, possibly the stage of adjudication, but without specific detail on the expected further processing time.
Implications For You, Our Client
While this policy change poses certain challenges, we would like to reassure you that we will continue to engage with Home Affairs on your behalf, to the extent that is possible for us. We can still raise flags on any issues pertaining to applications and notify Home Affairs that applications have been exceeding the expected processing time, with a request for escalation and for the application to receive urgent attention.
This is something your consultant has been doing on your behalf and will continue this course of action. However, due to the new policy, we anticipate receiving limited direct communication or feedback from the DHA in response to our concerns.
Given the fact that Home Affairs already faces a severe problem with delayed processing times, it is regrettable that the Department has implemented a policy that requires applicants or companies acting on their behalf to undergo a further administrative process (including a fee payment) to receive basic feedback on the status of applications.
IBN Immigration Solutions will continue to engage with Home Affairs, but we believe in transparency, to inform you, our clients, that we are uncertain about the extent of individualised feedback we will receive on applications.
The development, unfortunately, results in a course of legal action against Home Affairs, to compel the Department to take a decision, becoming a more powerful route of following up on long pending permanent residence applications.
Thank you for your continued trust in IBN Immigration Solutions.
Written by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor