Is your employee’s visa valid?

valid visaOur regular readers will know by now that it is critically important to ensure that foreign employees have valid visas.

There are very real consequences for employers who don’t adhere to this regulation. Many employers have gotten huge fines.

The reality is that these fines could easily have been avoided. The employers only had to ask four simple questions:

1. Is your company listed as the employer?

Work visa holders may only work for the company stipulated as the employer on the visa. When a visa holder change jobs, they must apply for a change of conditions to update the employer.

2. Has the employee moved positions in the company or gotten a promotion?

Similar to above, work visa holders may only be employed in the occupation listed on the visa. For instance, if the visa says ‘Content Manager’, the employee cannot take up a new position as ‘Marketing Manager’ without first changing the conditions of their visa.

3. Is the visa still within its expiry date?

This is the most obvious check to do, together with checking that the passport is also still valid. Migrants can’t work and live in South Africa on expired visas.

Migrants have to apply for renewals to continue their stay – and do so well in time. The Department of Home Affairs require renewals to happen at least 60 days prior to the expiry date, but it’s always best to start renewals as soon as possible.

Migrants who overstay their visas are illegal foreigners and may also be declared ‘undesirable persons’. You can read more about the consequences of this to your business here.

4. Is the employee still in a relationship with or married to a South African?

Migrants on spousal or life partner visas received their visas based on their relationship with a South Africa.

If the partners break up or divorce, the spousal or life partner visa is no longer valid. Any foreigner who is in this position will have to apply for another visa to continue working for you. These applications must be started as soon as possible!

Employees with invalid or expired visas in your company?

If you find employees with invalid or expired visas, it is best to act as quickly as possible. It would be in your best interest – as well your employee’s – to work with an immigration professional at this stage.

Please feel free to contact us should you require assistance. Our team will do a complete assessment of the situation and make recommendations. We can also assist with appeals and applications where necessary.

You can reach our Johannesburg team on 011 234 4275 while our Cape Town team is available at 021 424 2460. Alternatively, email us and one of our team will contact you instead.