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President Zuma Signs Immigration Amendment Bill

October 3, 2016

The Presidency

President Zuma has assented to the Immigration Amendment Bill.

Parliament passed the bill and sent it for assent at the end of August 2016.

The bill, tabled in March 2016, was drawn up by the portfolio committee on home affairs.

The Immigration Amendment Act is designed to put an adequate sanction in place for foreigners who remain in South Africa after their visas have expired.

It seeks to introduce amendments to the Immigration Act of 2002.

According to the bill’s memorandum, fines imposed on foreigners who overstayed their welcome had not been serving as a sufficient deterrent.

Section 30 of the act had, therefore, been amended by the Immigration Amendment Act of 2011 to allow for foreigners who overstayed the prescribed number of times to be declared undesirable.

However, the wording of the amendment had led to various interpretations with some holding the view that a foreigner must overstay a number of times to be declared undesirable while others hold the view that one instance of overstaying would result in a declaration of undesirable.

The act intends amending section 32 of the act in order to more clearly provide that foreigners who overstay after the expiry of their visas will not qualify for a port of entry visa, a visa, admission into South Africa or a permanent resident permit during the relevant prescribed period.

The act will come into force on a date still to be determined by the president.