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.