What is the change? Following the recent acknowledgement by the Department of Home Affairs that more than 4,000 permanent residence applications have been misplaced, affected foreign nationals have until July 31 to resubmit.

What does the change mean? The DHA has published in the National Government Gazette the list of permanent residence applications that the agency has recorded as received but which have subsequently been misplaced. All foreign nationals who appear on the list have until July 31 to resubmit their permanent residence applications by email. Applications resubmitted after that date will not be accepted.  

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence.
  • Who is affected: Permanent residence applicants as listed in the March 17 Government Gazette (No. 40691).
  • Impact on processing times: Failure to resubmit by the July 31 deadline will result in rejection of the application.
  • Next steps: Applicants who appear on the list must resubmit their applications before July 31 to the DHA Contact Centre via email, quoting their office reference number and enquiry number. Applicants should not wait until the last minute, as they may first need to obtain a new South African police clearance that is not more than six months old.

Background: Prior to June 2, 2014, the DHA utilized a “track and trace” case management system for permanent residence applications. Further to an internal review, the DHA has discovered that 4,616 permanent residence applications are detailed in the system as received but with no corresponding outcome recorded and no copy of the application available to adjudicate. As such, the DHA has given affected applicants until July 31 to resubmit their applications.

BAL Analysis: Although the DHA notice suggests that only permanent residence applications submitted prior to June 2, 2014 have been misplaced, BAL is aware that applications submitted after that date may also be affected. As such, all foreign nationals with pending permanent residence applications, regardless of the date of submission, should check the list published in the National Government Gazette to determine if they are affected. No permanent residence applications submitted by BAL appear on the list and clients have already been contacted individually to allay any potential concern. Those who have already received their permanent residence permits, but whose names appear on the list, do not need to resubmit their applications but must provide a copy of their permit to the DHA via email so that the outcome can be correctly recorded. To avoid further delay, applicants who appear on the list should resubmit their applications as soon as possible and no later than July 31. The DHA plans to complete adjudication of all resubmitted permanent residence applications by the end of the year.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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