The South African government has urged Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEPs) holders who wish to continue staying in the country after the expiry of their special permits to migrate to other relevant work-related visas.
Last year, the South African government announced it would no longer be extending the ZEPs and urged holders of the current permits to move to other permits or leave the country by the end of 2022.
In a latest further notice to all Zimbabwean nationals granted exemptions in terms of Section 31 (2) (b) of South Africa’s Immigration Act 13 of 2002, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA), Director General, Tommy Makhode, urged them to apply for other visas provided for in the same immigration act whilst there was still time.
“By the direction of the Minister of Home Affairs (Aaron Motsoaledi) I address this further notice to all Zimbabwean nationals’ exemptions holders on his behalf. As you are aware the minister has issued Directive no. 1 of 2021 on December 29, 2021 in terms of which he extended the validity of the exemptions until 31 December 2022. The DHA calls upon all the affected Zimbabwean nationals to apply for one or other visas through VFS Global without any further delay,” he said.
Makhode noted it was crucial that all the affected Zimbabweans apply for the appropriate visa in order to stay legally in South Africa.
“It is of utmost importance that all the affected Zimbabwean nationals lodge their applications in order to regularise and to continue to sojourn lawfully in the Republic before the deadline of December 31, 2022,” said the director-general.
“All affected Zimbabwean nationals are called upon to make use of the opportunity granted by the Minister to apply for one or other visas provided for in the immigration act before the deadline of December 31, 2022.”
South Africa’s cabinet decided on a 12 months grace period at the expiry of the current ZEPs, during which holders of this permit in this year should apply to other permits appropriate to their particular status or situation.
At the expiry of this 12 months period those Zimbabweans who are not successful will have to depart South Africa or be deported.