On Tuesday, 5 September, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) announced that the Minister of Home Affairs, Prof Hlengiwe Mkhize, will on Friday reveal the requirements and processes for the extension to the Zimbabwean Special Permit (ZSP) scheme.
The news follows Cabinet’s decision on 1 August to conditionally reopen the application process for current holders of Zimbabwean Special Permits.
The first special dispensation for Zimbabweans was announced in April 2009 and allowed undocumented Zimbabweans, who would otherwise not qualify for visas, to become documented. The scheme was hugely successful and resulted in around 330 000 Zimbabweans to become documented and legal immigrants. The initial dispensation was extended in 2014.
A Zimbabwean Special permit
The special dispensation for Zimbabweans makes it much easier for Zimbabweans to obtain South African work visas, as they are exempted from many of the more onerous requirements, like having to prove that no suitably qualified local person could be found to fill the position.
Before this week’s announcement, it was feared that the end of the dispensation, planned for 31 December 2017, would have resulted in hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans becoming illegal immigrants. Certain sectors of the South African economy would also have been crippled. The agricultural sector in the Northern Province, for example, is heavily dependent on Zimbabwean labour.
Read the DHA press release here
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