DHA conducts immigration raid for expired work visas

27 Feb 18

SOUTH AFRICA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Department of Home Affairs has confirmed that it has conducted unannounced inspections of the Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) in Midrand, Johannesburg on Thursday, seeking to verify whether certain employees of the television station have valid work visas.

What does the change mean? South African employers are reminded that DHA’s Inspectorate Directorate is authorized to conduct unannounced onsite inspections to verify immigration status of employees.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: All work visas.
  • Who is affected: All South African companies.
  • Business impact: Companies should be aware of their compliance obligations and train staff on how to respond if visited by DHA inspectors.
  • Next steps: Employers are encouraged to conduct internal audits to ensure that they and their employees are in compliance with immigration regulations.

Background: According to local press reports, DHA officials raided the ANN7 studios and questioned human-resources staff for hours, seeking employee files on the suspicion that up to 10 Indian national employees were working with expired visas. ANN7 is a 24-hour news channel in South Africa that was owned by the controversial Gupta family until August 2017.  The service broadcasts on the DStv satellite television service owned by Multichoice. The DHA called it a routine inspection that was based on information it had received. In its announcement, the department said that it would release the results of the inspection after it verifies its findings.

BAL Analysis: The high-profile raid, which has received extensive press coverage in South Africa, should serve as a reminder to all employers that immigration authorities are entitled to appear at company premises to inspect documents at any time. Employers should be mindful that immigration violations, including overstaying a visa, may carry serious consequences.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact africa@balglobal.com.

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