The communication serves as a policy directive with regard to the extension of international assignments, as well as to deal with subsequent international assignments.



Please read the following link for the official directive no 19 of 2014.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa


IFP leader writes on the obstacles placed on employers trying to bring in skilled labour from abroad

 Dear friends and fellow South Africans,

Having served as Minister of Home Affairs for the first ten years of democracy, I retain a keen interest in migration issues, particularly as they affect the economic growth and development of our country. I was therefore concerned when last year’s legislative amendments to the Immigration Act included a requirement that could only obstruct the entry of skilled workers and ultimately deter investment.

It seems that legislative amendments by the Department of Home Affairs, and delays in administrative justice by the Department of Labour, have ensured that skilled foreigners applying to work in South Africa face a long and uphill battle.

When the Immigration Amendment Act came into effect in May 2014, several immediate problems caught the spotlight. Some were ‘resolved’ by delaying implementation, such as the need to obtain full unabridged birth certificates when travelling with one’s children. Other problems, however, are escalating.

One such problem is the need for work visa applicants to obtain a certificate from the Department of Labour that effectively confirms that no South African could do what they are being hired to do, and that they are not going to do it for less money or under worse conditions than a South African would.

When I entered Home Affairs in 1994, immigration legislation required a complete transformation, for it was predicated on the apartheid mind-set of keeping everyone out unless they fit a narrow and racist description of “desirable”. The laws we inherited were woefully incapable of bringing skills and investment into a democratic South Africa at the speed and to the extent that we both needed and sought.

Among the many challenges and obstacles we were confronted with as we engaged immigration reform was the fact that the Department of Labour was ill-equipped to certify that each and every foreigner applying for a work permit had the required skills and would not be taking a job away from a South African. This had to be determined another way, which was more efficient and shifted the administrative burden onto the employer themselves.

Thus we inserted the requirement for an employer to prove that no suitable South African could be found to fill the position they intended to fill with an appropriately skilled foreigner. This was achieved by advertising the position. The mere fact that an employer would accept a greater administrative burden to employ a foreigner than they would to employ a citizen suggested that a need did in fact exist for the skills that foreigner provided.

Thus, under the legislation I piloted, the Labour certification was removed and work permits were expeditiously issued.

Unfortunately, the Department of Home Affairs has seen fit to bring back the requirement for a certificate from the Department of Labour, while retaining the burden on the employer to advertise and prove the need to employ a foreigner.

Unfortunately, again, the Department of Labour is still ill-equipped to provide certifications and is struggling to cope with a backlog of applications for certificates. Without the certificate, a work visa application cannot be submitted. Thus months are being added onto what is already a drawn out process. Not surprisingly, skilled workers move on, taking their skills where they are both needed and wanted.

But there is an added dimension to the problem at the Department of Labour. On 12 December 2014, the Johannesburg Regional Office of the Department suddenly stopped accepting applications. That section “closed”. A printed notice was simply placed flat on a counter-top saying, “Please note that submission of applications is closed and will re-open on the 12th January 2015. Thank you.”

Nevertheless, on 12 January 2015, applicants were turned away by security who explained that the relevant section was “still closed”.

In terms of administrative justice and the responsibilities of Government, one wonders how an office of a government department can summarily close, without any notice, for a full month, presumably for the holiday season. Is South Africa only interested in economic growth and development for 11 months of the year?

Work visa applicants have had to wait a full month just to be able to request a certificate, and will still need to wait while the backlog of certificates is processed before theirs can be issued. Only then can they apply for the actual visa at Home Affairs.

This, really, is the tail end of a lengthy process, considering that the position must first be advertised and applicants vetted, a police clearance certificate must be obtained, proof of qualifications must be evaluated by SAQA and translated by a sworn translator, and the employer must provide several written undertakings as well as a contract that is conditional on the work visa being granted.

It would be fair for skilled foreigners to question whether Government is intentionally obstructing their entry into South Africa. But it seems more likely that Government has simply fallen into the trap, yet again, of adding more bureaucracy in the misguided belief that it will close all the loopholes. In truth, the greater the administrative burden on Government, the less efficient the process becomes.

If we want greater economic growth and development in South Africa, we need to empower individuals and civil society, rather than deferring all power and responsibilities to the State.

Yours in the service of our nation,

Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP

Issued by the IFP, January 14 2015

An open-ended strike launched by the National Organisation of Oil Employees (ONEP) on 1 December has resulted in countrywide fuel and gas shortages in Gabon on 15 December. Low fuel supplies are significantly affecting domestic travel in the country. Cities currently affected by shortages include the capital, Libreville, and the city of Port-Gentil. The open-ended industrial action follows failed negotiations between ONEP and the government in late November. The Gabonese Refining Company (SOGARA), the only refinery in the country, has been closed since the start of the strike. The widespread fuel and gas shortages in Gabon are a consequence of this closure. Sustained domestic travel disruptions are anticipated in the short- to medium-term, particularly as further fuel stations close. There are additional concerns that potential fuel shortages may incite anti-government unrest across the country, including in major urban centres. Such events, should they occur, are assessed as being at a heightened threat of turning violent, as Gabonese security forces are known to forcefully disperse any form of public gatherings which are perceived to be anti-government in nature. Persons in Gabon should anticipate delays at both major and secondary transportation nodes for the duration of the industrial action. Clients are advised to maintain a flexible itinerary in order to mitigate any adverse effects that the fuel shortages may have on their travel plans. Furthermore, clients are further advised to avoid all large public gatherings as a precaution.

Information from Red24

VFS logo

Earlier this year the South African Department of Home Affairs expressed their confidence in the then newly appointed VFS who would be managing the submission process of all visa and permit applications in South Africa.  Yet it seems that now VFS is significantly overwhelmed and is battling to correct an ever increasing backlog says Gershon Mosiane, Chairman of the Forum of Immigration Practitioners (FIPSA).

“Early this year the signs were there and FIPSA expressed its concerns both publically and to the Minister of Home Affairs,” says Mosiane of the situation at VFS where scheduling appointments was to take place within 5 days of registering an application on the new online booking system.  “In reality we have heard reports of some cases where applicants have been waiting for a submission booking for longer than 60 days. Presently at some VFS offices, submission appointments are only available in March 2015. The system does not allow for cancellations or changes which results in several thousand unaccounted no shows which clogs up the system”

“There has also been an alarming increase in complaints relating to appointments not being carried through with on time and often applicants end up waiting 7 hours to be seen. There is also no solution for poor applicants who are paying VFS with no service delivery commitment to them. Even after paying an extra fee for a VIP lounge, which is supposed to ensure swift processing, you are not guaranteed a par excellence service given the chaotic state of the system.” says Mosiane

Another huge source of frustration is the turnaround of submissions via VFS and the resultant communication to applicants.  Often it takes up to 4 months for a basic tourist visa application to be approved and by the time the applications are finalised the applicant is illegal and is declared undesirable on departure from South Africa and unable to return to for up to 5 years through no fault of their own.

Mosiane added that a further concern was that some applicants are now inadvertently facing rejection of their applications, “The new law states that one must submit no later than 60 days prior to their current visa expiring but if one doesn’t have an opportunity to submit because of logistical challenges at VFS, why should the applicant be prejudiced against?”

Adding to the applicants’ perils VFS have announced their office closures for the festive season, closing from the 19th December to the 5th of January 2015. Not only does this contribute to their extensive backlog, it also translates to the fact that no applications will be processed for a period of 16 days, while the Department of Home Affairs who managed the submission process prior to VFS’ appointment, never closed meaning applicants could submit over the festive period.


This is against the backdrop that in terms of the regulations, applicants have to submit at a Department of Home Affairs office not VFS. Therefore this closure will be governments’ failure to provide a legal obligation and is not a VFS issue

This closure will result in applicants facing rejections of their applications through no fault of their own and with the urgency of which some applications must be processed the new system is failing its clients.

There are no signs of improvement and similar to the power crisis in South Africa, rectifying these issues will take months, if not years. 



FIPSA is the Forum of Immigration Practitioners of South Africa, and consists of voluntary members who are Registered Immigration Practitioners. FIPSA functions on a regional basis and has a National Structure which deals with National issues impacting on the profession. There are currently 3 established regions: Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwa-Zulu/Natal.