Two pieces of very good and overdue news were released by the Department of Home Affairs late last week:
1. The recent centralization of overseas applications was reversed, which means that visa applications can again be adjudicated at the missions and are not sent to Pretoria for decision-making. Processing times for new applications will hopefully normalize fairly quickly. How pending applications will be handled, remains to be seen.
2. Holders of the Zimbabwe Exemption Permit (ZEP) have been given an additional 6 months until 30 June 2023 to leave the country or apply for a mainstream visa. This does not make it easier to qualify for alternative visas, but gives ZEP holders and their employers some reprieve and extra time to adjust and await the outcome of the relevant court cases.
May our public servants that are charged with managing immigration continue to exhibit wisdom and common sense, so that other pressing issues like local backlogs, critical skills hurdles and waiver disablement may be addressed as well.