The South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has issued a Directive, dated 27 October 2014, advising that an extension to the Intra Company Transfer Work Visa, with validity of up to four years, may be issued to a foreign national who has already held an Intra Company Transfer Work Permit prior to May 2014.
This new Directive only applies to applicants who previously held Intra Company Transfer Work Visas under Section 19(5) of the 2002 Immigration Act. This means visas initially issued prior to the implementation of the new Immigration Regulations which came into effect in May 2014.
To recap, on 26 May 2014, the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) put into effect new Immigration Regulations. The main changes to the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa category included that Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas were permitted to be issued for up to four years and were no longer renewable. This made it unclear as to whether it was possible to extend Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas issued for less than 4 years under the terms of the Immigration Act prior to the amendment. It should also be noted that the DHA stated after the implementation of the new Immigration Regulations in May, that foreign nationals could return home and obtain a second Intra-Company Work Visa, as though they were applying for their first Intra-Company Work Visa. However, in August, the DHA reversed this decision, directing that a foreign national could not obtain a new Intra-Company Work Visa if they had been granted an Intra-Company Work Visa prior to the new Immigrations Regulations coming into force.
To solve this confusion, the DHA has confirmed that foreign nationals issued with Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas prior to implementation of the new South African Immigration Regulations on 26 May 2014 can apply for a second Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa, valid up to four years. However, this is not an in-country extension and applicants must apply for a new four year Intra Company Transfer Work Visa, by returning to their country of residence to make the application at a South African Embassy. This in in fact means that they have reverted back to the original policy.
The new Directive for Intra-Company Transferees issued by the DHA is therefore a positive change that resolves the previous lack of clarity in process and policy.
If you have any queries regarding this or any other South African immigration issues, please feel free to contact us.