The Department of Home Affairs intends to speed up student visa applications for the 2012 academic year in order to make life a little less complicated for foreign academics and students.
As per the department’s commitment to efforts to recruit “critically skilled” foreigners, it is going to lend a hand to foreign academics and students who need to have work and study visas, Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni explained .
The department has put in place a variety of measures via the Work and Study Visa Project to speed up visa applications for the current academic year.
* The establishment of a specialized adjudication hub to concentrate exclusively on work and study visas for educational institutions.
* Separation of all outstanding study visa applications from 2012 applications in an effort to eliminate a backlog. All 2012 study visas are going to be adjudicated daily and outstanding applications will get special attention.
* The activation of Home Affairs provincial and regional offices that will help academics and students to apply for work and study visa applications.
* Linkages with educational institutions in order to provide verification of supporting documents accompanying work and study visas.
The department advised all educational institutions to complete all work and study visas no later than 15 March.
With respect to the Zimbabwe Documentation Project, Apleni explained that the department expected to have the process completed by the end of the current financial year.
The department received 275 762 applications from Zimbabweans attempting to regularise their stay in South Africa.
“To date and having undertaken various measures to communicate with all the applicants, both in terms of the submission of outstanding documents as well as the collection of permits, we are pleased to say we have issued 255 282 permits. “We are therefore left with 20 480 outstanding permits. We reiterate our commitment to ensuring that these are issued speedily so that this project can be brought to a close,” he was quoted saying.