Prosecution of illegal foreigners

Illegal foreigners encouraged to depart SA or face penalties

In light of recent events, the parliamentary portfolio committee on Home Affairs has been taken to task over issues centered on the prevalence of illegal foreigners within South Africa’s borders and the perceived inability on the part of the government to keep track of their entrance and continued residence in the country. The proposed new International Migration White Paper, put forward by the Department of Home Affairs, will see substantial investment injected into the Immigration Inspectorate in order to improve detection and prosecution of illegal foreigners.

Penalities for illegal residence by foreigners

These illegal foreigners residing in South Africa face severe penalties upon detection. The Immigration Act provides immigration officials with wide-ranging powers when it comes to the arrest, detention and deportation of illegal foreigners.  An officer within the Immigration Inspectorate is entitled to arrest an illegal foreigner, without the need for a warrant, and deport or detain said foreigner. The foreigner may be held in detention for up to 90 days. A foreigner who remains in South Africa in contravention of the Act shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding 2 years. If the inspectorate elects to instruct a foreigner to depart South Africa and said foreigner fails to do so, he or she shall be liable upon conviction to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding 4 years.

Illegal foreigners options once a visa expired

Illegal foreigners are encouraged to depart South Africa of their own accord in order to avoid the above mentioned penalties. A foreigner who has overstayed his or her visa will still, however, be penalised upon departure and issued with a ban prohibiting re-entry into South Africa for a period of up to 5 years.  For information on how to overturn a ban from South Africa, you can view our South Africa visa overstay appeals page.

Prosecution of illegal foreigners

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