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South Africa’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced that nationals of Zimbabwe and Lesotho have been granted extensions on their exemptions for an additional two-year period.
Background: The ZEP program began when the South African government granted “special dispensation” for Zimbabweans who were in the country illegally, many of whom had fled violence and instability. The South African government replaced special dispensation for Zimbabweans with Zimbabwean special permits in 2014 and again in 2017 with the introduction of ZEPs. A similar exemption was granted to nationals of Lesotho to provide them relief and to ease the burden on the asylum system. The exemption affects approximately 54,653 nationals of Lesotho and 178,000 Zimbabwean nationals.
BAL Analysis: Authorities have automatically extended permits until Nov. 29, 2025. However, nationals of Zimbabwe and Lesotho must still apply for the new permits following the newly released process.
This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.
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