New directive allows for in-country ICT applications in some cases

23 Dec 14

SOUTH AFRICA

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? South Africa has amended an earlier order on foreign nationals seeking to extend intra-company transfers. Foreign nationals holding ICT Work Permits issued prior to May 26 will be allowed to apply in-country for a new ICT Work Visa in certain circumstances.

What does the change mean? ICT permit holders do not have to leave South Africa to obtain a new ICT Work Visa to continue their assignment as long as the cumulative duration does not exceed four years from the date the initial ICT Work Permit was issued. For assignments totaling more than four cumulative years, foreign nationals must leave South Africa and apply for a new ICT Work Visa from their home country.

  • Implementation timeframe: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: ICT Work Permits issued before May 26.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals in South Africa holding the above permits.
  • Impact on processing times: The directive allows processing at a visa center in South Africa instead of consular processing from abroad.
  • Business impact: The new rule will eliminate travel time and business interruption for foreign nationals who are eligible to apply in-country.
  • Next steps: Foreign nationals holding ICT permits issued before May 26 should work with their BAL attorney to determine if they may file in-country, depending on the length of their assignment extension. Under the Immigration Regulations passed this year, completed applications must be submitted no later than 60 days before the expiration date of an existing ICT Work Permit.

Background: The Immigration Regulations passed on May 26 established that ICT Work Visas would be issued for four years and could not be renewed. However, the regulations were silent about foreign nationals holding ICT Work Permits issued before May 26 under the old regulations.

In October, the Department of Home Affairs issued a directive that allowed those foreign nationals to obtain a new ICT Work Visa valid for up to four years, but they were required to fly to their home country and apply at a consular post.

This month, the Department further clarified its policy in a new directive that allows holders of ICT Work Permits issued before May 26 to apply in-country for ICT Work Visas valid for up to two years to continue their international assignment. This in-country processing applies to foreign nationals whose assignment is extended such that the total period from the date of issuance of the initial ICT work permit to the end of the assignment does not exceed four years.

Foreign nationals who have completed four years of an international assignment and require an extension of their time can apply for a new ICT Work Visa for up to four years, but must return to their home country to submit the application from abroad .

BAL Analysis: The new directive is a very positive change that further eases the conditions for foreign nationals holding ICT Work Permits issued before May 26.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in South Africa. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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