New immigration laws affect Zimbabweans

Malusi Gigaba says Zimbabweans who receive new permits will have to reapply after a period.

FILE. Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says Zimbabweans who receive new permits to stay in SA will have to reapply after a period. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba says Zimbabweans who receive new permits to stay in South Africa for an extra three years will have to apply for regular visas once that period ends.

Gigaba's department has announced that the old dispensation will come to an end at the end of this year and will now be replaced by a new system that allows Zimbabweans to stay in the country until the end of 2017.

But to qualify for the new permits, they have to prove they are employed, studying or running a business.

About 245,000 Zimbabweans currently hold permits under the old system.

Gigaba says this is not a permanent arrangement.

"If they wish to stay in South Africa for longer, beyond the next three years, they will then have to go back to their country, reapply for any of the visas provided for in the immigration legislation and then - subject to conditions - they will be able to stay longer. But if they can't fill the conditions that are there, hard luck."