Legalization of Zimbabweans in SA

immigrants_in__saPretoria - Cabinet recently decided to approve the proposal to end the Special Dispensation for Zimbabwean nationals resident in South Africa. Following Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zumas elaboration on the matter last week government wishes to reiterate the following:

That the Special Dispensation, as per agreement between the governments of South Africa and Zimbabwe will end on 31 December 2010

This process is intended to ensure the documentation and regularisation of all foreigners beginning with Zimbabweans

That the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria and its consulate in Johannesburg will assist with the issuance of valid travel documents to Zimbabwean nationals resident in South Africa to enable the Department of Home Affairs to issue such qualifying nationals with valid study, business or work permits

The government has also extended an amnesty to all Zimbabweans who are in possession of fraudulent South African documents. Such nationals will not be prosecuted provided all illegal documents are returned to the Department of Home Affairs offices around the country.

In pursuance of these objectives, Minister Dlamini Zuma said, we have agreed with the Zimbabwean Minister of Home Affairs to establish a joint task team to assist in this process. The Zimbabwean Minister of Home Affairs has assured us that everyone who needs to be documented will be enabled to do so. They have even deployed their Registrar-General to ensure this matter is handled efficiently and appropriately.

Since the announcement of this Cabinet decision the Department has been inundated with calls from Zimbabwean nationals who seek to comply with our immigration laws and wanted clarity on what processes they should follow to regularize their stay in South Africa.

Accordingly Minister Dlamini Zuma directed the Departments Immigration Section to hold an urgent meeting with representatives of the Zimbabwean expatriate community to inform and explain to them the rationale behind the cabinet decision. This meeting was held on Monday 6 September 2010 in Pretoria. It is our view that this meeting was the first among many interactions the Department will have with this community.

In addition the stakeholders at the meeting were advised that the documentation of Zimbabwean nationals does not replace the normal processes related to the application for asylum.

Minister Dlamini Zuma also directed the Department to develop a plan to implement the decision of the cabinet on the matter. In this regard the following measures have now been put in place to effect the cabinet decision on the documentation of Zimbabwean nationals resident in our country:

The process of issuing Zimbabweans with relevant South African permits for business, study and work will commence from 20 September 2010

The permits will be issued through all forty-six (46) regional Home Affairs offices in all the nine provinces in the country

Two hundred and thirteen (213) Home Affairs officials both at headquarters and provinces have been deployed to facilitate this process

This number may increase depending on the volumes of applicants who may approach Home Affairs offices

Dedicated lanes and/or desks will be established in all our regional offices for this purpose

A track and trace system will be in place to ensure applicants are informed via sms of the status of their application

The department will in due course establish a call centre whose number will be communicated as soon as possible.

In the meantime enquiries can be directed to: [email protected]

The work, study and business permits that will be issued to all qualifying Zimbabwean nationals through this process will be made available free of charge.

We reiterate Minister Dlamini Zumas announcement last week that Zimbabweans resident in South Africa will not be required to return to their country to acquire such valid travel documents which are machine-readable. The process will be facilitated within the boundaries of the Republic in conjunction with the Zimbabwean Embassy and Consulate.

The government is confident that the majority of the Zimbabwean nationals resident in South Africa want to take advantage of the measures announced by Cabinet to regularize their stay in the country. In this regard, the government will put its resources at the disposal of these Zimbabwean nationals to enable them to lead normal lives within the framework of the laws of South Africa.

Contrary to some falsehoods being disseminated in the media and in circles of the Zimbabwean expatriate community, that these measures are aimed at punishing Zimbabwean nationals resident in South Africa, the documentation of such nationals is in line with the countrys immigration laws and international practice./end

Issued by the Department of Home Affairs

Post published in: Zimbabwe News

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