Lesotho Special Permit: Success as SA aims to address immigration regionally

2017-01-30 10:29 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
Post a comment 0

Basotho nationals wait patiently to apply for the Lesotho Special Permit which will allow them to live and work in South Africa legally.

Cape Town - Lesotho nationals currently working, studying or residing in South Africa have until 31 March 2017 to submit additional documents to validate their stay. 

With regard to developments on the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP) programme, South Africa's Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba on Sunday, 29 January, said that the application process for Lesotho Special Permits (LSP) has run its course, and the amnesty and moratorium not to deport will be lifted on 31 March 2017.

“Basotho nationals who produced Lesotho ID cards or birth certificates when applying, without valid passports, and still with outstanding documents, must provide all supporting documents before 31 March 2017, to finalise their application,” Minister Gigaba said.

“Accordingly, those who have paid by 31 December 2016 but have not completed the application process by 31 March 2017 will be deported, just as we deport all other undocumented persons in the country.

“We request employers and schools to allow all Basotho nationals who have applied for the LSP permit to continue their employment and school attendance using their proof of application receipt until the LSP permit is issued,” Minister Gigaba said.

Address immigration in 'cooperation with countries of the region and Africa as a whole' 

Gigaba hailed the process a success, saying international migration is a global phenomenon and is increasingly prominent in political and social discourse in many countries.

"We believe strongly that a regional approach to issues of migration will deliver a better deal for ourselves and for the continent. Push factors of illegal migration may best be addressed in cooperation with countries of the region and Africa as a whole," Gigaba said. 

HAVE YOU READ: #AfriTravel: Continental passport on the agenda as AU Summit kicks off in Ethiopia

"Our engagement, for instance with the Kingdom of Lesotho, should be understood in this context of collaboration with SADC neighbours," he says. 

The LSP was approved by Cabinet in 2015 and the application process commenced in March 2016, with a closing date of June 2016. It was later extended to September 2016 and was extended to 31 December 2016.

According to the Minister, the total number of online applications submitted at VFS was 127 048 and by the closing date, 88 563 Basotho nationals had completed the application process.

To date, 31 019 permits have been collected. Applicants must phone VFS call-centre to check and collect their permits.

The LSP aims to relieve pressure from the asylum seeker management process, to provide amnesty to Basotho who obtained SA documents fraudulently, to regularise Basotho residing in South Africa undocumented and to suspend deportation of Basotho who reside in the SA undocumented, by allowing them to apply for LSP, except those persons who are convicted criminals.

ALSO READ: Trump's #MuslimBan: 4 things travellers need to know about the US travel restrictions

The number of asylum seekers received from January to December 2015 is 62 159. 

Of these, 2 499 were recognised as refugees, averaging 4.2% of total applications received during 2015. A total of 58 141, that is 95.8% of applications, were rejected, as they were manifestly unfounded (not related to the criteria for granting refugee status) or unfounded (with no basis on fact).

What to read next on Traveller24

Trump's #MuslimBan: 4 things travellers need to know about the US travel restrictions

Visa-free travel between Russian and SA on the cards but not in effect as yet

#AfriTravel: Continental passport on the agenda as AU Summit kicks off in Ethiopia