By Uglobal Staff
As South Africa is battling another wave of the pandemic, the government has announced it will not process any new permanent residency permits until the start of 2022, a move that may impact wealthy foreigners, entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers interested in building their future in the African nation.
The new measures were announced in an official gazette that listed the type of services the Department of Home Affairs will offer as South Africa deals with the third wave of the pandemic and has entered its level 4 stage of nationwide alert.
The Department of Home Affairs will process permanent residence permit applications from Jan. 1, 2022. However, applications for permanent residence permit appeals and proof of permanent residence permits will be processed from Oct. 1, 2021, it added.
The measures could end up hurting the country's investment immigration potential since the permanent residency applications of wealthy investors, highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs would not be processed for a long time and they might end up taking their money elsewhere. It is estimated that the backlog of permanent residency applications goes as far back as six years while the moratorium on new applications might effectively be up to two years, according to local media outlets.
THE IMPACT OF THE PANEDEMIC IN SOUTH AFRICA
In a separate statement, the Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said the government was doing its share to facilitate existing permanent residents during the pandemic. Motsoaledi announced that a one-year blanket concession would be given to all permanent residents who were directly impacted by the pandemic. Now permanent resident holders would have until Dec. 31, 2021, to renew or activate their residency status without the risk of losing it due to difficulties arising out of the fluid coronavirus situation in the country.
South Africa encourages immigrants to apply for permanent residency, especially if they can show that they can contribute to the country's economy. Successful applicants are required to show they have a permanent work offer, be highly skilled with relevant qualifications, or intend to start a business in the country.
Motsoaledi also announced that the stay of temporary visa holders, such as tourist visas, would be extended until September 2021; this would, however, only apply to those whose visa date is between December 2019 and March 14, 2021.
Those who already have the longer-term temporary visas, for example business visas, work visas etc., which are usually issued for up to three years, would be allowed to renew their visas, if they apply before Sept. 30, 2021.
South Africa struggles with the pandemic, and so far 61,840 have died since the virus began to spread in the country while the current average number of new cases per day crossed the 20,000 mark earlier this month, according to the latest COVID data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University.
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