Permit Applications in South Africa – Resolving Outstanding Documents What is a reasonable period of time to expedite pending temporary & permanent residence permit applications?”
Permit Applications may be tricky but, here at Craig Smith & Associates we are constantly being asked to intervene as specialist South African immigration lawyers and consultancy service to expedite long outstanding pending temporary and permanent residence applications submitted to the Department of Home Affairs without finalisation.
There is always an overwhelming sense of concern when permitting matters are pending for an unreasonable amount of time and the consequences may vary from losing out on work opportunities, investing or establishing a business endeavour, remaining with a spouse or simply having to leave South Africa due to a total loss of belief in the Department of Home Affairs.
Many of our Clients contact us with a common underlying issue and we wish to encourage those potentially disillusioned foreigners that there is relief since we can expedite pending permit applications.
From a legal point of view our Department of Home Affairs is legally obliged to adjudicate and deliver an outcome for any such temporary or permanent residence application within a reasonable period of time and this right is in favour of any applicant to assert and enforce a legally enforceable right against the Department of Home Affairs to have such matter adjudicated within a reasonable period of time.
The field of administrative law remains the foundation upon which the Department of Home Affairs, like any administrative state department, is legally compelled to comply with section 33 of our Constitution as well as the Promotion of Administrative of Justice Act 3 of 2000 to act lawfully, reasonably and procedurally fairly in bringing about just administrative justice.
So what constitutes a reasonable period of time?
Pending Temporary Residence Applications
The Department of Home Affairs is legally obliged to adjudicate and deliver all temporary residence permit applications within 30 days of submission.
This timeline is almost always abused which places the Department of Home Affairs in breach of its legal obligation and this therefore places the individual applicant who awaits an outcome with a positive right to enforce an outcome within 30 days from submission.
In our experience most applicants are non the wiser and when they approach either the Department of Home Affairs themselves or their immigration agents wherein they are simply advised that the matter is pending without committing to a specific timescale and this remains totally debilitating for any foreigner placed in such a dire situation.
Pending Permanent Residence Applications
The frustration experienced with pending permanent residence is even more frustrating since there is no legislated timeline contained in our immigration laws save for court precedent and practise.
Even more disturbing is that applicants who are in South Africa and on temporary residence would have to renew or change status to remain legally in the country just to await a potentially long outstanding permanent residence application.
LISSA has successfully been involved in the creation of legal precedent in our High Courts whereby our Home Affairs has conceded that eight months is considered to be a reasonable period to finalise pending permanent residence matters.
Our Department of Home Affairs will never wish to publicly notify such foreigners who seek outstanding permanent residence as it will potentially result in thousands of frustrated foreigners demanding finalisation of such pending permanent residence matters as this would be a risk to such Department.
Court Interventions & High Court Litigation
At LISSA, through our highly experienced immigration lawyers, we are proficient and successful in engaging in tactical litigation so as to finalise any such temporary or permanent residence application through High Court litigation against the Department of Home Affairs to effectively compel such Department to adjudicate pending permit applications.
We would consider the merits and determine whether we would proceed on either an urgent, semi-urgent or normal High Court application to force the Department to adjudicate within a reasonable period of time.
LISSA would be happy to extend such legal and court services to any such foreign person who finds him-or herself in such an unfortunate predicament.
Court interventions of this nature are a very frequent service that we provide with outstanding success so if you are experiencing such long outstanding permitting matters please give us a call for assistance.