Home Affairs office / Image via Facebook

The Department of Home Affairs, (DHA) after 22 months, has resumed the processing of permanent residency (PR) applications, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Effective from the 3rd of January 2022.

Foreigners looking to become permanent residents in South Africa have been barred from applying since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This suspension was lifted in January 2022, but a burgeoning backlog of applications spells a long wait for immigrants.

Historically, applicants have been told that the process takes six to eight months when in reality it takes over two years for a PR application to be processed. The only applications which were prioritized and processed sooner – generally within a year – included those submitted on grounds of business and critical skills.

It is estimated that there is a backlog of roughly 30,000 PR applications, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the suspicion of accepting new permanent residency applications, the Department of Home Affairs stated that it would allow them sufficient time to go through the backlog of outstanding applications.

This, however, is far from the truth.

As the Department of Home Affairs did not catch up on the backlog, there is an estimated amount of 50,000 outstanding Permanent Residency applications.

If you have submitted your permanent residency application, it is important to note that you are required to remain on a valid temporary residency visa, while awaiting the outcome of your permanent residency.

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