Zimbabwean Exemption Permit Holders Left With One Month To Regularise Stay In SA4 months ago
Over 178 000 Zimbabweans who are holders of the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) have exactly a month to find alternative ways to regularise their stay in South Africa.
The ZEP is set to expire on 30 June 2023 when the grace period announced by the South African government to allow the holders to comply with the country’s immigration laws lapses.
More than 178 000 Zimbabwean nationals have been living, working and attending school in South Africa using the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit.
South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs discontinued the permit after it was first issued over a decade ago but three civil rights groups have challenged this move in the Pretoria High Court.
If the Pretoria High Court rules in favour of the Department of Home Affairs, thousands of Zimbabweans will be deported from South Africa.
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EWN reported that until recently, the Department of Home Affairs has been requiring Zimbabweans to apply for alternative permits such as the spousal or work permit but the process has been complicated.
Many who have opted for the work permit have had to travel back to Zimbabwe to start their application.
Zimbabweans have also been required to apply with the Department of Labour for exemptions if their skills are not considered scarce.
The Pretoria High Court reserved its ruling in the battle between Home Affairs and civil groups but time is running out for thousands of Zimbabweans who may soon find themselves as illegal migrants in South Africa.
More: Pindula News