SOUTH AFRICA – Department of Home Affairs Restricts Short-Term Work to 180 Days Per Calendar Year
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has issued a directive internally and to the South African diplomatic missions, restricting short-term work on a Visitor’s Visa 11(2) to a maximum of 180 days per calendar year.
Section 11(2) of the South African Immigration Act makes provision for the holder of a Visitor’s Visa, issued by a South African diplomatic mission, to be authorised to conduct work in South Africa for a limited period of 90 days, with an extension of maximum 90 days from within the country, thus allowing a total stay for work of 180 days or six months.
The 11(2) Visitor Visa is required for numerous short-term work activities including, but not limited to, consulting and other professional advisory services, project-related work, IT systems/software implementation and technical support, internal audits and corporate review processes, the installation/service/repair of machinery and training (facilitating and receiving). It is required equally for nationals of visa-exempt countries who are intending to work for short periods.
It is important to note that a Visitor’s Visa 11(2) is not a category of work visa and is appropriate in limited circumstances only – in particular, where the applicant does not qualify for other appropriate categories. The work should be temporary and specific, i.e. in connection to a particular project.
There is no legislative cap on the number of Visitor’s Visas 11(2) that can be issued to a foreign national in any given time frame, nor any legal requirement to wait for a “cooling off” period before applying for a new visa. However, the new policy is likely to be implemented and should be observed, unless or until it is successfully challenged in court.
According to the DHA directive:
- A foreign national issued with a Visitor’s Visa 11(2) for a stay of 90 days, which has been renewed for a further three months from within South Africa, will no longer qualify for another renewal or a new visa in the same calendar year.
- If the validity of the Visitor’s Visa 11(2) extends into the following calendar year, the the days falling in the new calendar year will count towards the 180-day period for the new calendar year.
- An application for a new Visitor’s Visa 11(2) immediately after the expiry of a Visitor’s Visa 11(2), by the same applicant in the same calendar year, will not be accepted.
- In one calendar year, only one three-month Visitor’s Visa 11(2) renewal application from within South Africa will be accepted.
Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact their Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.