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Visa adjudication delays caused by the Centralization process

Posted by Sue-Allan Mehl

Central Adjudication decision

In February 2022, the Department of Home Affairs announced that the delegation of adjudication powers will be shifted to the Head Office in Pretoria to minimize the inconsistency within all South African missions abroad. This meant that all long-term visa applications would still be received by these missions, but to be forwarded to Head Office for review as well. Part of the decision was that all short-term visa as well as study visa applications will remain at the missions to be processed. Little did we know what chaos would follow.
We are in the month of August with very little outcomes to show since the centralization process commenced. Applicants as well as employers are still anxiously awaiting visa outcomes of applications submitted earlier this year. Spouses cannot join their loved ones in the Republic (unless they submit here) and individuals cannot yet enjoy their retirement in South Africa which they worked so hard for. Previously, processing times were between two (2) and eight (8) weeks – a far cry from the outrageous processing times being experienced currently. With the new processes in place, it has also added further strain on the already overloaded processing teams in Pretoria – which in turn causes a huge delay to the adjudication times of visa applications submitted within South Africa.
An unfair, but possible recommendation for future applications
At this stage, our strong recommendation would be for applicants and employers to establish a long lead-time with regards to a move to South Africa eg. a 8-12 month expat plan. We are aware that it might not be the most ideal plan, but it would certainly be better for planning purposes. Employers with an immediate need for assignees may look at the Section 11 (2) visa option for 90 days. It must be cautioned, though, that this short-term work visa cannot be used in lieu of preparing the paperwork for a long-term work visa.
Please feel free to reach out to us via our website on www.movingsouthimmigration.com to subscribe for the latest updates and possible alternative routes or contact us on +2773 5357 534 or [email protected] to discuss visa options and the timelines attached to these applications.

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