Special Visa dispensation for Chinese nationals currently residing in South Africa

On 17 February 2020, by way of the issuance of an Immigration Directive, the Minister of the Department of Home Affairs, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, announced temporary visa concessions for Chinese visitor’s and workers on temporary residence visas in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Who is affected?

This will affect all Chinese nationals who legally entered South Africa.

Background

The novel coronavirus, formally named, COVID-19, emerged in central China in late December 2019 and the latest figures show it has infected more than 75,000 people and has caused the death of over 2000 patients. The World Health Organization has classified COVID-19 a global health threat.

Many countries have set up border screenings and airlines have cancelled flights to and from China to prevent further spread of the virus, which has been detected in around two dozen countries.

The Minister of the Department of Home Affairs confirmed Chinese nationals are not banned from travel to South Africa and made these concessions to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals in South Africa and prevent the further spread of the virus.

Impact

Holders of Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas

If a qualifying individual is in possession of an Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa valid until 31 July 2020, they may qualify to change their status to a Visitor’s Visa authorising them to conduct work related activities in terms of Section 11(2) of the Immigration Act. It is important to note that the visa will be issued with an endorsement restricting the change of status or conditions of the visa.

Holders of Visitor’s Visas

If a qualifying individual is in possession of a Visitor’s Visa, same may be extended beyond the maximum period of 6 months. They will be allowed to apply for an extension of their Visitor’s Visa for a further period of 3 months. It is important to note that the visa will also be issued with an endorsement restricting the change of status or conditions of the visa.

Holders of Expired Visas

The holder of any visa which expired from 1 December 2019, up to 29 February 2020, will be allowed to submit a renewal application without having to regularise their stay.

This temporary visa concession is applicable only to Chinese nationals who were legally admitted into South Africa and will apply until 31 July 2020.

How Santa Fe can assist

Santa Fe Relocation can support your business with any immigration compliance and advisory issues concerning your expatriate population. We can review current employees’ visas and assist with necessary advice or solutions to ensure ongoing compliance with the South African Immigration Act and Regulations.

We will also keep your business updated on ongoing developments on all South African immigration matters and will advise on any changes requiring your attention.

Should you have any questions, please contact:

Terence Rover
Immigration Manager – Africa
Santa Fe Relocation
Johannesburg, South Africa
D: +27 (0) 10 442 8933
M: +27 (0) 72 279 9606
E: Terence.Rover@santaferelo.com

Paolo Longo
Regional Immigration Director – India, Middle East & Africa
Santa Fe Relocation
Johannesburg, South Africa
D: +27 (0) 10 595 2337
M: +27 (0) 83 677 7949
E: Paolo.longo@santaferelo.com

To read more immigration updates, click here

About our Immigration Services

Our immigration services manage thousands of visa applications every year for a multitude of international companies. Our experienced immigration experts and migration agents handle the immigration process for you and provide simple reporting and guidance on immigration matters.

About us

Santa Fe Relocation is a Global Mobility company specialising in managing and delivering high-quality relocation services worldwide. Our core competence is providing services that help corporations and their employees as well as individuals and their families to relocate and settle in new places. These services are delivered to a consistently high standard, locally and globally, and managed through our own operations around the world. For more information, visit us at www.santaferelo.com

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