In this month’s contribution I want to share my most recent travel experience, update you on the positive changes for those people applying for Permanent Residence in South Africa and elaborate on the status of work permits and immigration in Kenya and Mozambique.

Over the past weekend that I extended into Freedom Day, I drove my family north to the Orange River where we were meeting some friends who are farmers north of Vryburg.

I did not send many pictures to my family in Germany, considering they may be a bit depressed with the lockdown situation.

The drive took approximately 9 hours and it made me realise what an incredibly beautiful and versatile country we live in. It is mind-blowing to leave the Cape and pass through the Cederberg noticing how the landscape changes north of Klawer. Then to see the massive granite formation around Springbok and 300 km of wide grasslands and red semi-desert soil as one nears Upington, finally giving way to 10 km of pure green along the Orange River.

The terrain in the Northern Cape is quite like that of Namibia. The Augrabies Falls are worth a visit, even out of the rainy season, and on the way back rainbows greet one all through the Karoo to Calvinia and the breathtaking Vanrynsdorp. I would suggest leaving your house and getting into your car to discover our diverse and spectacular country. The tourism industry needs you and you will receive a well-deserved break.

This year the get together with our farming friends was more positive compared to the previous one two years ago. They experience plenty of rain in the north and this has produced enough food for their cattle and their herds are growing substantially.

Meat prices are also high. What is rather shocking is that certain political parties encourage farm invasions and the local police are absent to enforce the law. Self-defence training courses are popular amongst the farmers and their family members. Their reality is very different to ours.

Back home and a current topic amongst our readership is the recent news regarding the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa?
As I indicated in my latest videos some of the key staff at DHA have resigned and high-ranking officials have been changed.

We were able to contact the new person in charge of permanent residence and even received a reply! She confirmed that her department is working on clearing the massive backlog of permanent residence applications until June and only then to follow up on outstanding applications. Many applications will have been adjudicated by then.

Talk of course is cheap but we see some successful applications in the last 3 weeks, in driblets though rather than a stream. We are hopeful that our clients will receive their well-deserved outcomes soon.

The effort to clear the backlog is the reason given by DHA as to why the department has not opened for new applications but I do not agree with this decision.

DHA is creating a new backlog and more importantly the rights of the foreigner, to apply for a permit, is severely restricted.

A permanent residence permit offers many advantages namely the job market, applying for a loan, paying local fees at school or university or just a feeling of being accepted and welcome.

An administrative reason should not limit or infringe on substantial individual rights. VFS should accept all applications and then retain the documentation for 3 months before sending the applications on to Home Affairs.

The news is that if you have applied for a temporary residence permit in November or December to remain calm if you have not received a response. You should receive your outcome in the next two weeks.

The news from our Kenya and Mozambique offices is that the local authorities in these countries are increasingly trying to protect their local labour markets even if the job skills do not exist.

In Kenya we heard that a high number of work permits were rejected recently. It seems that the Covid-19 situation has triggered an economic crisis and this is leading to more protectionism.

In Mozambique, the local authorities invent new requirements weekly and then withdraw them after a complaint is made. Predictable and reliable adjudication is not high on their agenda.

I wish African governments would start seeing immigration as a competitive advantage but I guess a lot of water must flow down the Zambezi before this happens.

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Written by: Andreas Krensel