In the recent two months a lot of interesting things have happened. In the following article I wish to share with you some humble lobbying success, draw your attention to some rather important High Court decisions, share with you current developments at The Department of Home Affairs South Africa, as well as the most recent developments at IBN Immigration Solutions.
Decentralisation of Home Affairs
As proof that speaking up and flagging certain issues which are not in the interest of the country can sometimes be the right thing to do, I can share with you that our lobbying efforts to reverse the unfortunate centralisation decision made by The Department of Home Affairs in February 2022 has been reversed as per the 1st of September 2022.
This means that from September of this year, the missions will be required to process their own applications again. It took a few days and some confusion until most missions had received and read the instructions given by the The Department of Home Affairs, but we can steadily see that they’re slowly starting to comply with the instructions issued by the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi.
We at IBN Immigration Solutions flagged the negative consequences of the centralisation decision as early as April 2022, and with the great help of various Chambers of Commerce, I confidently believe we were able to make a small contribution to this decision.
New Steps Taken by the Department of Home Affairs
During the last three or four weeks, I have been participating in various online workshops hosted by The Department of Home Affairs. A personal highlight was the Gauteng Growth Development Agency (GGDA) webinar that detailed how The Department of Home Affairs is trying to assist multinationals in bringing in much needed foreign experts.
According to these workshops, Home Affairs is encouraging large multinationals to engage with the department directly to discuss large projects and the visa support they would potentially need. Unfortunately, this offer is not extended to smaller companies or companies that are not as well-known.
My further worry is that Home Affairs, although it might be well-intentioned, is creating a two or three tier immigration system. Tier one would be the very large multinationals who can, if they approach the department of Home Affairs directly, and with enough lead time, solve or address their immigration hassles proactively.
The tier two companies would have to go through various trade chambers or industry bodies to be heard. And finally, tier three smaller companies, as well as private individuals, would unfortunately be left without any representation, and must await the outcome of the applications. Some of these applications have taken 10 months, a point the DHA has admitted themselves. Due to this, they have even extended the waiting period for pending applications until 30th of March 2023.
A Recent High Court Ruling
In a very important High Court decision, the Western Cape High Court recently ruled that holders of spousal visas, whose spousal relationship has been terminated, should be allowed to remain in South Africa to care of and provide for their South African children.
This decision has not yet been confirmed by the constitutional court, but my suspicion is, after reading the reasons for the judgment, that the constitutional court will confirm this judgment. They would then offer foreign parents of South African children another route to stay in South Africa.
Talent Gap Constantly Widening
South Africa desperately needs foreign talent to grow the economy, and due to Department of Home Affairsshortcomings, are not attracting enough of them. If you combine this with a current trend of immigration, the situation of talent in South Africa becomes even worse. According to a recent survey, half of South Africa’s top earners and university graduates consider immigrating to other countries. In addition, Cape Town is becoming even more filled with educated South Africans who work remotely for US-based or European Union-based companies with high salaries, while sitting and enjoying this Capetonian lifestyle.
This development will only accelerate and therefore withdraw even more talent from the South African labour market.
Considering that the future labour force of the developed world may come from Africa, South Africa sits in front of a massive problem. It is already a massive problem, and it will only become a bigger one. A well-planned AND implemented Immigration system can grow the economy, the international research is crystal clear.
After listening to many presentations by the Department of Home Affairs, it is evident that this mid-term and long-term development by The Department of Home Affairs places no consideration of this in their current planning of the new legislation, or in the mindset of the adjudicator’s.
I wish the Department of Home Affairs, supported by other departments, would understand that our economy can only grow if we have net-growth of talent. It saddens me to watch talent pool get constantly smaller.
Our Lawsuit Against the DHA
We have decided to reach out to our clients to join us in taking legal actions against The Department of Home Affairs due to the extremely long processing times and vast amount of outstanding Permanent Residence Applications. Why must a financially independent applicant, willing to pay R 120.00 fees to DHA upon approval, wait for 5 years? During lockdown, The Department of Home Affairs did not allow for the submission of Permanent Residence Applications for over a year. Their official reason was that they wanted to clear the massive backlog. However, very little has come of this, and our list of outstanding applications remains long.
If you have been affected by these delays, you are welcome to join us in our fight for results. You can direct any queries or requests for more information to firstname.lastname@example.org
In IBN news, our merger with J Fetting Inc. is going very well. Patrick and Gareth, our two new staff members, have integrated successfully into our IBN Immigration Solutions family, and we are glad to have them.
Unfortunately, we had an unfortunate loss of one of our strongest immigration consultants, Melissa Moses, and will miss her intricate knowledge of African immigration and wish her thanks for her many years of excellent service.
Our Namibia office is growing again after a rough year due to COVID. We recently hired a new employee in Namibia, who will be mentioned further in an article below.
The Kenya office has started to do better and better, and Sandra is making a real impact, for which I’m grateful. Also, our Mozambique office is up and running again after Karen, our local branch manager, went through a rough patch. This seems to be behind her, and we look forward to having her re-energised and back in action!
We are also gearing up to grow our “out of Africa” immigration services. We do assist an increasing number of clients with their immigration into Germany, Ireland, and the UK. We see long-term growth in this segment and wish to offer these countries also in our Kenya and Namibia office soon. The Retirement Visa in Francee is becoming more and more popular, no need to invest 200.000 EUR into Portugal, there are smarter options out there.
In addition, we are working on a new website. We will launch it still in 2022. So, in short, lots of plans and just too little time for me to work on the business. I am still working too much in the business (I am working on changing this, though).
IBN’s Participation in Upcoming Exhibitions
I’m also happy to announce that some trade fairs and exhibitions are taking place again. We have decided to participate in the SARA (South African Rewards Association) Conference. It is to be held in November of this year, and my Johannesburg team will be joining this event.
We will be ending the year off with the German-African Business Summit; hosted in Santon, I will be joined by a team of three IBN employees to support our Africa ambitions there.
A Brief Conclusion
Overall, we at IBN Immigration Solutions are currently on good track! I just wish that the current processing times could be reduced, which would really assist many of our clients, and stop us having to allocate so much time to escalation calls, follow ups, and updates. Of course, this is all part of our business, but faster processing times would help our clients, us, and the country tremendously.
Written by: Andreas Krensel
Edited by: Simon Carletti
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