South Africa: Visa Backlog Continues

Latest Update on Visa Backlog

BREAKING NEWS: Individuals who are waiting for the outcomes of their waiver applications or have pending visas have been granted another extension. Read more here

Hello, everybody. Today I want to reveal some very interesting statistics which were shared by the Minister of Home Affairs and Acting Director of Home Affairs in Parliament. I think it explains quite well why you might be waiting for your Permanent Residence and Temporary Residence.

Home Affairs Committee

It’s important to understand the framing of where this information comes from: Parliament, and especially a portfolio committee on Home Affairs, have the right to question the executive. They invited the Minister of Home Affairs and subsequently, the Acting Director of the Department of Home Affairs, Mr Yusuf Simons.

While the Minister got some numbers wrong, the Acting Director had all the right numbers. Around 20 500 Permanent Residence applications were submitted in 2022, and around 97 000 Temporary Residence applications. This gives you a ballpark figure of what Home Affairs deals with on an annual basis.

Rejection Rate

The Acting Director also managed mentioned that the current rejection rate is 45% (we go into detail on this in one of our other updates). I personally think it’s a bit higher than 45%, based on the feedback we’re getting here in South Africa. Nevertheless, this number is historically extremely high.

Shocking Backlog

Now we come to the backlog. The current Permanent Residence backlog on record is 49 529, with some applications dating back to 2016. We actually had a client last week receive her permanent residence, which had been pending since 2016.

Temporary Residence

For Temporary Residence, the backlog has been revealed to be 75 000, with most applications in the Spousal category. We have had numerous clients phone and ask where their Spousal Visas is, and you are not alone. Apparently, around 70% percent of the 75 000 pending applications are Spousal Visas.

Reasons for Delay

Why are Spousal Visas adjudicated so late? Firstly, the DHA are concerned about fraudulent marriages, a valid concern. Secondly, and far less valid, it seems the DHA does not consider Spousal Visas as important for the growth of the economy. We see this from processing times –  Critical Skills and Business Visas are historically processed faster, while spouses wait forever.

Home Affairs allocate their limited resources (despite increasing their hires) to processing deemed in the interest of the economy and grow the economy.

Processing Favouritism

While that might be in the best interest of the economy, I do think that that the unity of the family is a constitutional right and that partners not having their status is not conducive to the investment climate in South Africa.


I hope you found this interesting. We always monitor the parliamentary hearings and committees to ensure we bring you the latest in immigration updates. You can find more information on the DHA backlog, and South Africa in general, across our website and blog.

Written by Andreas Krensel, Managing Owner

Edited by Simon Carletti, PR and Creative Supervisor

Disclaimer: At IBN Immigration Solutions, we believe in transparency and abide by Google’s rules. Please note that we are a privately-owned immigration practice and fully comply with the Immigration Act of South Africa, with registration number 1998/008448/07. We offer our expertise in successfully applying for temporary and permanent residency services, for which we charge a fee. While forms required for the process can be obtained for free at any Department of Home Affairs office, we provide them as part of our service. It’s important to note that we are not affiliated with the South African Government, but we do provide a valuable service to those seeking to immigrate to South Africa. Users who prefer to deal directly with the Department of Home Affairs can contact them at

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