New Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit announced

Zimbabwean Dispensation

Minister Malusi Gigaba of the South African Department of Home Affairs today released comments on the new Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit.

Background
In 2009 the Cabinet of the Republic of South Africa approved the Dispensation of Zimbabweans Project – or ‘DZP’ as it’s commonly known.

The stated objectives at the time were:

  • Regularize Zimbabweans residing in South Africa illegally
  • Curb the deportation of Zimbabweans who were in SA illegally
  • Reduce pressure on the asylum seeker and refugee regime, and
  • Provide amnesty to Zimbabweans who obtained SA documents fraudulently

The DZP allowed applications from Zimbabwean’s with a valid Zimbabwean passport; evidence of employment, business or accredited study; and a clear criminal record and if successful granted them a permit to stay and work, study or run a business in South Africa.

The impending expiry of these permits has caused much anxiety with a great many of the 245,000 successful applicants.

The Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit 

Current DZP permit-holders, who wish to remain in South Africa, after the expiry of their permits, can reapply for the ZSP, subject to certain conditions.

These conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • A valid Zimbabwean passport; evidence of employment, business or accredited study; and a clear criminal record.
  • The ZSP will allow permit-holders to live, work, conduct business and study in South Africa, for the duration of the permit, which is valid until 31 December, 2017.
  • Applications can only be made between 01 October 2014 and  31 December 2014.
  • Applications must be made via VFS, and adjudicated by the Department of Home Affairs.
  • Applications will begin online, with appointments given for in-person finalization at a visa facilitation centre.
  • An administration fee will apply but is yet to be divulged.
  • ZSP permit-holders who wish to stay in South Africa after the expiry of the ZSP, must return to Zimbabwe to apply for mainstream visas and permits under the Immigration Act, subject to the relevant requirements.
  • The expiry date of all DZP permits which expire before 31 December 2014 is accordingly delayed until 31 December 2014. The expiry date of those DZP permits which expire after December 2014, is being brought forward to 31 December 2014.

This of course now provides VFS with a significant challenge – the processing of as much of an additional 245,000 applications in just 3 months. To put it into content that’s some 80,000 potential applicants per month. 4 new offices are being opened in what are perceived to be ‘stress’ areas; Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

The question has also to be asked will the DHA, assuming VFS can indeed process this amount of application can the DHA adjudicate them in additional to their normal volumes and the already in existence backlog. We leave you with the announcements stated quote from Minister Malusi Gigaba.

“Therefore there will be no queues as experienced in the past, and we trust applicants will enjoy a pleasant and efficient application experience.”

Let’s hope he is correct!

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