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Zimbabweans in SA hit by immigration laws

The law that requires foreigners to return home & reapply affects 250,000 Zimbabweans.

FILE. Under new immigration rules published by South Africa in March, all foreigners are supposed to return home and reapply for visas from there. Picture: Nastasya Tay/EWN

ZIMBABWE - State media in Zimbabwe is reporting a quarter of a million Zimbabweans who were registered to live and work in South Africa four years ago should know this week whether they will have to return home or not.

They were among hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans who flocked to South Africa to escape the economic and political crisis back home.

But now their residence permits are due to expire.

Under new immigration rules published by South Africa in March, all foreigners are supposed to return home and reapply for visas from there.

But campaigners say this is unfeasible for the 250,000 Zimbabweans who got special visas in 2010, to live and work legally in the country.

Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Campbell Mohadi has tried to downplay the anxiety that faces so many Zimbabweans over this issue.

And it's clear he's been hoping for a special dispensation for them from Pretoria.

Now Mohadi has told The Herald that the South African authorities have invited them for a meeting in Pretoria on Thursday.

Zimbabweans in South Africa will be anxiously awaiting the outcome of this meeting, as will the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean families who depend heavily at home.

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