Forfeiture of repatriation deposits

Repatriation deposit South Africa
Repatriation deposit South Africa

For some people the below is great news, for others they will sit back and wonder just how on earth the DHA feels this is in anyway fair.

Let’s start by saying that the below is essential news for every immigrant who has paid, and not already applied for a refund back, of their repatriation fee. If you do not act, as you will see below you will lose the repatriation deposit you have paid which in most cases was a substantial amount of money.

Background

The recent amendments to the immigration act saw one of the previous requirements for a temporary visa (known as a permit) set aside.

The requirement was that certain types of temporary visa required the applicant to pay over a repatriation deposit, in some cases this amounted to a significant amount of money.

We have now seen further news on this subject by means of a government gazette issued on the 13th October 2014.

We make no apologies for repeating that you should continue to please ensure you read the below if you have paid a repatriation deposit with your temporary application, at any stage in the past, and have not made an application to receive it back. We further encourage you to please share this link with all immigrants that you may know to ensure they also do not suffer a financial loss.

Remember please – Failure to act will mean that your deposit is lost.

What the new regulations say

All those who have paid a repatriation deposit need to approach, by the 28 February 2015,
any South African Mission in his or her country of origin for a refund of his or her
deposit.

It further goes on to say:

The Department of Home Affairs’ Offices within the Republic may issue refunds only in exceptional circumstances where a person has acquired permanent residence permit or has changed his or her status in the Republic prior to 26 May 2014.

The following is required to apply for your refund

Any person who claims a refund must submit the following documents:

(a) Application for refund of repatriation deposit form (available at South African
Foreign Missions or Department of Home Affairs Local Offices);
(b) Original Passport (for verification purposes);
(c) Original receipt of the deposit;
(d) Proof of banking details / warrant vouchers (cheques);
(e) Proof of final departure from the Republic of South Africa on or before the expiry of
the temporary residence permit; and
(f) in the case where an application for refund is made in the Republic, proof of
change of status prior to 26 May 2014 or proof of permanent residence permit.

(NOTE: Anyone who had overstayed his or her permit shall not qualify for a refund,
as he or she would have violated the terms and conditions of his or her temporary
residence permit).

Failure to claim a refund by 28 February 2015 will result in the deposit forfeited to the
State as unclaimed.

In layman’s terms what does this mean?

If you have already received permanent residency you should already have applied for your repatriation deposit to be refunded to you.
If you applied and received your temporary residency visa, and paid a repatriation fee, you may not apply for your refund here in South Africa unless you have had a change of status (see below) prior to May 26th 2014.
If you applied for and received your temporary visa in South Africa, this should have seen a change of status and you may apply then for your refund here in South Africa.

What is a change of status?

A change of status refers to your residency status in South Africa. This would include as examples:

Where you entered South Africa on one type of visa and then changed this to another type of visa (e.g. from a work visa to a business visa; or a work visa to a spousal visa);
Where you entered South Africa on a tourist visa and then applied for and received a temporary visa such as visitors, retired, business, work, study, relatives or exchange.

What’s wrong with this?

Whilst great news that the department recognises the need in light of the new regulations to return held repatriation deposits the criteria for doing so is prejudicial against those who applied and received their temporary visa’s abroad.

Such holders, who have paid repatriation deposits must now fly back to their country of origin to make their application, and do so by the 28th February, if not the money is lost.

Also please be aware that in applying for the repatriation deposit the DHA are asking for evidence you have left South Africa permanently. If you have hope of continued remain here. Proceed with caution.

How can Intergate help with your repatriation deposit?

For applications in South Africa Intergate can assist you in claiming your refund. Please contact us on 021 424 2460 for more details of the service or email us on info@intergate-immigration.com, or speak to your Administrator.

Unfortunately for those who submitted abroad the DHA seems to be putting a rather large obstacle, and one we feel very unfair, in the way of your reclaiming your own money.

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