The future of permanent residence in South Africa

permanent residence in south africaEarlier this year the Immigration White Paper was gazetted and it proposed that permanent residence in South Africa be replaced with a long term residence visa.

This long term residence visa will reviewable and not contribute towards citizenship. This move is to dispel the view that immigrants have a constitutional right to progress towards citizenship due to years spent in South Africa.

The final amended legislation will be submitted to Parliament for public consultation and approval in March 2019.

Our aim today is to highlight this for you, and to urge you to take action if you’re considering applying for permanent residence at the moment.

It bears all the markings of the 2014 legislation change

The last time South Africa made significant changes to our immigration legislation was in 2014. Back then permanent residence was also one of the affected categories.

Just like now, the proposed changes were made public. Despite this, scores of people dragged their feet and by the time they decided to apply for permanent residence, the old legislation no longer applied.

Unfortunately the search for alternative options more often than not resulted in a dead end or an extremely long wait to eventually qualify for permanent residence again.

How does this relate to what’s happening now?

If the changes proposed in the White Paper are made official, permanent residence will fall away. Instead foreigners will receive a long term visa, which won’t necessarily lead to citizenship.

The similarities between this and 2014 are striking:

  • Significant changes are made to South Africa’s immigration legislation; and
  • Your ability to apply for residency could be a thing of the past after 2019.

However, what happened to eligible applicants back then doesn’t have to happen to you in 2019.

What should you do?

While we can’t tell you if, how or to what extent the legislation may change in 2019, we can tell you that a ‘wait and see’ attitude is not the best strategy. Ask anyone from 2014 who waited too long to apply for residency!

Therefore our advice is simple – get assessed to see if you qualify for permanent residence and explore your options.

Here’s how to get assessed for permanent residence in South Africa

It’s easy to get assessed. All you have to do is call us and speak to one of our consultants. Do it as soon as possible and you won’t be caught off-guard in 2019.