SOUTH AFRICA – Positive New Rules on Extensions of ICT Permits and Visas
Further to our alert on this subject in October, the South African Department of Home Affairs has now issued additional clarifications to the October Directive, which state that extensions can be submitted within South Africa, and also that new applications from the home country may be submitted for assignments lasting beyond four years.
The amendments to the South African immigration legislation made in late May 2014 (see our alert here) made it possible for Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Work Visas to be issued for periods of up to four years. However, there was considerable uncertainty over whether extensions of ICT Work Permits with two year validity would be permitted or not.
In October 2014, the Department issued a Directive making it clear that holders of two year ICT Work Permits would be permitted to apply for new, four year ICT Work Visas, but only if they returned to their home country and applied at the South African diplomatic post there.
Extensions Within South Africa
The new clarifications state plainly that holders of ICT Work Visas issued prior to 26 May 2014 may apply for a new ICT work visa (with validity of up to four years) either at the South African diplomatic post in their original country of residence, or from within South Africa.
This is significant as previously, it was not possible to apply for the new ICT Work Visa from within South Africa.
Extensions Beyond Four Years
The new clarifications also state that where an assignee has completed four years of an international assignment and is needed for a further period, it is possible for them to apply for a new ICT Work Visa with validity of up to four years. However, such an application must be submitted at the South African diplomatic post in their original country of residence.
This is a very positive development as it now gives companies the possibility of having assignees in South Africa for up to eight years on an ICT Work Visa.
- Note that ICT Work Visa extensions for holders of ICT Work Permits issued period to 26 May 2014 may now be submitted from within South Africa
- Note that new four year ICT Work Visas may now be issued to assignees who have already completed four years in South Africa on an ICT Work Visa/Permit, meaning that up to eight years on this status is permissible.