Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Deadlines Extended: What You Need to Know

July 8, 2024
Zimbabwean Exemption Permit | Report Focus News
Zimbabwean Exemption Permit

The South African government has extended the deadline for Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) holders. Over a million Zimbabweans residing in South Africa will be affected by these new timelines.

Extended Deadlines and Validity Periods

For current holders of the original ZEPs, the deadline has been extended to November 29, 2024. They are entitled to apply for new exemption permits, which will be valid until November 29, 2025.

Those who have already applied for waivers and other mainstream visas do not need to apply for the new exemption permits. They can remain and work in South Africa until they receive the outcomes of their applications.

Original ZEP holders who have not yet applied for waivers or general work visas are encouraged to do so. Immigration specialists can help determine the most suitable permits or visas and ensure timely applications before the November 2024 expiration date.

New Home Affairs Minister Faces Criticism

New Home Affairs Minister Leon Schreiber has extended the temporary concession for foreign nationals awaiting visa, waiver, and appeal outcomes. This move has sparked controversy, with ActionSA and other parties calling for Schreiber to prioritize jobs for South Africans.

ActionSA caucus leader Lerato Ngobeni criticized Schreiber for extending the concessions on his first day in office, arguing that it undermines efforts to address illegal immigration and the associated economic and social issues.

Calls for Reversal of Decision

A petition by Kaneth Smollan urges South Africans to oppose Schreiber’s extension of working visas for immigrants, claiming it contradicts efforts to tackle high unemployment and the influx of unskilled labor.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) also expressed concern, stating that the policy disregards the well-being and economic prospects of skilled South Africans. They argue that allowing more foreign nationals to compete for limited job opportunities exacerbates the country’s unemployment crisis.

Minister Defends Decision

In response to the criticism, Schreiber emphasized that the concession is for legal visa holders who contribute to South Africa’s economy through tourism, investment, and skills. He highlighted the importance of processing legal renewals and addressing the backlog of applications.

“The time for the rule of law and unlocking economic growth to create jobs has arrived,” Schreiber stated on his X account.

As the debate continues, ZEP holders and employers are advised to consult with immigration specialists to navigate the new deadlines and ensure compliance. The South African government aims to balance attracting international investment and skills with addressing local employment challenges.