Senior corporate executives seeking to make visa and permit applications will no longer have to visit the usual Home Affairs branches, thanks to the premium visa and permit centre launched by Minister Malusi Gigaba in Sandton on Wednesday (20 May).
The application process at the centre takes about ten minutes and thereafter the applicant will wait for about four months to get the visa or permit, as opposed to the initial eight months.
Prior to visiting the centre, applicants can make an appointment online.
Most of the application process is done electronically, including payment. The biometrics and applications are approved at the department’s Head Office in Pretoria.
The premium one-stop-shop for visa and permit renewals comes as a result of a partnership between the department and VFS Global and the Gauteng Provincial government’s Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) to facilitate increased investment into South Africa.
Services at the centre also include immigration advisory services to applicants and further manage stakeholder relations.
The centre is further aimed at alleviating the pressure of visa applications management for senior executives of companies who are holders of temporary residence visas as well as other foreign employees within these corporates.
With the launch of the premium visa and permit centre, the department has invited corporate companies and businesses recognised and affiliated to the various chambers of commerce to apply for membership for the corporate account status.
The premium visa and permit centre in Sandton – which will not only serve the corporate executives, but services will also be extended to their family members – is in addition to the 11 already existing centres that are situated in all the provinces.
Minister Gigaba said this was part of efforts by the department to look for innovative ways to serve its clients better.
“South Africa is open for business and we will continue to find innovative ways of servicing our clients,” he said, adding that the department was moving away from clustered offices to ensure better and efficient services.
Minister Gigaba emphasised the need for the department to continue to improve on its services.
Recently, the department launched the Moetapele Leadership Initiative as part of ensuring members of the public receive consistently high quality service from Home Affairs officials.
Under the Moetapele Leadership Initiative, the department will improve the performance of officials who serve the public directly to ensure that they serve efficiently and effectively with courtesy and good manners.
All Home Affairs officials are expected to have their name tags bearing their faces when serving clients.