The South African minister of Home Affairs, Hlengiwe Mkhize, released a budget policy statement this week that sets out her department’s immigration priorities for the coming 12 months.

Key points:

The turnaround standard set last year—a goal that 85 percent of permanent residency permits be delivered within eight months of application submission—will be maintained. The target for adjudicating business (investment) visas and general work visas has also been maintained, at 90 percent within eight weeks. The turnaround standard for critical skills work visas has been increased by 5 percent to 80 percent within four weeks of application submission.

The Department of Home Affairs will prioritize immigration proposals contained in the White Paper that was approved by the Cabinet in March and which is expected to be published shortly. “Our focus is now on implementing the White Paper, approved by Cabinet in March 2017,” Mkhize said. “The policy development process will result in a comprehensive overhaul of immigration and refugee legislation.”

Work will continue on establishing the new Border Management Agency, which will oversee all border issues. The goal for the agency is be operational in the current fiscal year with the integration of border management to then be implemented in phases.

BAL Analysis: The budget statement confirms that the DHA will continue to pursue comprehensive changes to the immigration system proposed in the White Paper. After the White Paper is published and open to public comments, legislation on implementing the changes will be introduced. A BAL Backgrounder on proposed changes and their potential impact on employers is available here.

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

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