Warning for businesses and households who employ illegal immigrants

 ·20 Feb 2024

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has sent out a stern warning to employers who continue to knowingly employ undocumented foreigners – however, woes within the department itself have not helped the situation.

On February 19, Motsoaledi doubled down on his tough stance on immigration at a stakeholder meeting in Gqeberha, and physically pulled out the Immigration Act, emphasising that hiring undocumented foreign workers is illegal and punishable by law.

The minister further warned that there will be increased action taken against those who do not comply.

Motsoaledi highlighted that the first conviction may result in a fine or imprisonment of up to one year. For the second conviction, imprisonment of up to two years or a fine may be imposed. The third or subsequent convictions carry a penalty of imprisonment for up to five years without the option of a fine.

Additionally, the Motsoaledi urged municipalities to enforce by-laws to prevent undocumented foreigners from operating businesses as they are largely “not tax compliant.”

Home Affairs issues

Getting a grip on issues relating to documentation seems like an upward battle for Home Affairs, which has been plagued with instances and allegations relating to corruption, as well as a mounting visa backlog.

This is seen to have played a crucial – although not sole – role in exacerbating the current ‘documentation crisis.’

On February 19, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) was instructed by the President to “probe serious maladministration relating to the issuance of permanent residence permits; corporate visas; business visas; critical/exceptional skills work visas; study visas; retired persons’ visas; work visas; and citizenship by naturalisation.”

The department has been facing a mounting visa backlog of over 70,000 at the last reporting.

Read: Massive visa backlog in South Africa – Home Affairs says it has a plan

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