SOUTH Africa has introduced new stringent immigration regulations, which would see visitors who overstay their allotted days being banned from entering the country again for a minimum of 12 months, instead of paying fines as was previously the case.
The new, tough rules are outlined in a circular dispatched to South Africa’s border-posts and provincial offices by the Ministry of Home Affairs Deputy Director General, one J.W. Mackay.
The regulations, which have already taken effect, are in line with the country’s Amended Immigration Act and Regulations.
According to the new laws, a person would be declared “undesirable” and banned from entering South Africa for 12 months should he/she overstay by less than 30 days as a first offence in a 24 -month period.
If that particular individual commits a similar offence within a period of two years, then he or she would be banned from entering South Africa for a period of two years.
But if someone overstays by more than 30 days –– regardless of whether it is a first offence or not –– that particular person would be banned from entering South Africa again for five years.
The directive partly reads: “In terms of the new Act, financial administrative fines for ‘overstayers’ will cease and be replaced with the following criteria as reflected in regulation 27 (3) of the new regulations.
- Overstay less than 30 days (first offence in 24 month period) declared undesirable for a period of 12 months.
- Overstay less than 30 days (second offence in 24 month period) declared undesirable for a period of 24 months.
- Overstay 30 days or more to be declared undesirable for a period of five years.”
However, those banned for overstaying would be allowed to appeal within 10 days of the ruling.
Administrative fines for ‘overstayers’ issued prior to May 26 2014 would, nevertheless, be paid and officials have been directed to continue collecting the required amounts.
The directive also makes provision for a grace period of up to the beginning of July for parents who cross the South African borders freely with their children.
“A grace period will be provided and officials are directed to allow the child to travel with parents despite not having the unabridged birth certificate until July 1, 2014.
“Thereafter, parents will be expected to produce unabridged birth certificates for all minor children travelling with them.
“Officials must, with immediate effect, alert all travelers that birth certificates will be required from July 1, 2014.”