SA Home Affairs department says that Zimbabwean immigrants on the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit (ZSP) will be applying for visas after December 31st 2017.
Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba announced on February 1st that the permit will not be continued after this year, thus, SA cannot afford to take in the large number of immigrants.
“We can’t offer permanent residency for such a high number of people,”
He further shared a reminder that the ZSP will be stopped by the end of the year.
Owing to the failing Zim economy, nationals have migrated in search of greener pastures in neighboring countries. There are about 197 000 Zim citizens who are legally in SA under the privilege of ZSP.
Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permit was introduced by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba on 12 August 2014.
As the foreign nationals ponder over their status after the scheduled expiration date, the minister says he would make further announcements before the month runs out.
Meanwhile he advised those it may concern that the option of visas are very much open to them.
“We will make a well-thought-out decision, hopefully with the support of my cabinet colleagues,”
Since majority of the Zim immigrants were there for job opportunities and businesses, the minister also announced the plans for the Home Affairs department to commence the implemetation of a new policy to have 60% of the workforce occupied by locals in the hospitality sector.
It was somewhat thoughtful that he made this known to them before the expiration date as cases of “immigrants taking all the jobs” have resulted to violent xenophobic clashes in the past.
“We’re not taking an antagonistic approach with the industry, we’re not looking at a punitive approach,”
He urged companies to comply with the law which will also affect those in construction, agriculture and mining industries.
These sectors have a high number of foreign nationals as employees.
In reaction to the Home Affairs announcement, Roshan Dadoo of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in SA says that there is still an air of confusion over the fate of Zimbabweans with jobs at the moment. She shared her concern that the expiration of the ZSP could make them illegal immigrants.
According to the minister, some mining companies were already working with the department in order to access corporate visas.