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southafricalogoThe Citizen reports that despite expatriates working and studying in SA being allowed to return to the country during the lockdown, many have been hesitant to do so due to the strict requirements they need to meet to be granted permission to return.  

According to immigration specialist at Xpatweb, Leetasha Govender, for expats to return they have to fall within the “exceptional need to return” category, which applies to long-term visa holders who need to return for work purposes that are in line with the economic growth of the country.  “Expats are ready to return ... but the hoops they need to jump through are too cumbersome for some to book the flight.  If a long-term visa holder wants to return to South Africa, they will be considered depending on their positions and the reputation of their employer,” she advised.  Govender added that the likelihood of a South African being able to temporarily fill the role until border-lockdown has been lifted was also one of the considerations of the Department of Home Affairs’.  In May, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma issued regulations which allowed permanent residents to return to the country.  But on 3 July, DHA Minister Aaron Motsoaledi issued directives for people who fell outside of the categories allowed to return.  In terms of his directives, expats who wished to return had to apply in writing to the minister, demonstrating “exceptional circumstances” for their request.  “[They] need to ensure that their applications are supported by a copy of passport and a copy of a temporary residence visa... Everyone entering the country is required to adhere to the health protocols, including quarantining for 10 days,” said Motsoaledi’s spokesperson.  Moreover, some expats have expired or expiring visas which they are unable to renew as SA embassies abroad have not yet resumed their full immigration activities.

  • Read the original of the report in the above regard by Rorisang Kgosana on page 6 of The Citizen of 28 August 2020

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