Victor Maphosa Herald Correspondent
Foreigners whose immigration permits and visas expired during the 21-day national lockdown will continue to stay and have been told to be wary of bogus immigration officers soliciting for bribes.
In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage said Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 automatically allows all foreigners to stay in the country despite expiry of their permits or visas.
Government denied authorising any individuals or entities to renew such documents during the lockdown.
“The net effect of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 (Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020 was that it automatically renewed the immigration status of all foreign nationals whose status became invalid consequent to the lockdown, that is, diplomatic status, time restricted residence permits, temporary employment permits, scholars’ permits, students’ permits, temporary permits, visas and visitor’s entry certificates,” said the ministry.
“It has come to the attention of the Department of Immigration and the Ministry at large that there are individuals who are initiating unauthorised processes to renew visas and various other permits on behalf of foreign nationals whose permits have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown measures, appearing as if this has been sanctioned by the Department.
“Accordingly, the individuals carrying out this exercise, purportedly on behalf of the Immigration Department are doing so for their own selfish gains and designs.”
No one should pay any fee to any individual misrepresenting to be providing the services on behalf of the Immigration Department.
“This is a Government service which does not require any facilitation from any third parties,” said the ministry.
“The Department of Immigration has not tasked these persons or any individuals for that matter to carry out the exercise of extending the stay of persons, especially foreign nationals who have been affected by the lockdown measures which Government recently instituted to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.”