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Dear employer
After the High Court extended the validity of the ZEPs by court order until end of June 2024, and the application for leave to appeal against this decision failed, the Minister of Home Affairs, in a press release on 29 November 2023, confirmed that an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal has already been launched.
In the interim, the Minister announced on Friday, 1 December 2023 the following directives:
  • The validity of the original ZEPs will be extended until 29 November 2024:
    • original ZEP holders who have already applied for waivers and for other mainstream visas, do not have to apply for the “new” Exemption Permits;
    • holders of the original ZEPs as well as the new Exemption Permits cannot apply for permanent residency or citizenship;
    • holders of the original ZEPs can apply for waivers and applicable mainstream visas, and are advised to do so urgently; and
    • if an original ZEP holder has applied for a waiver and a mainstream visa, he/she will be allowed to remain and be employed in South Africa, until they receive the outcome of their applications.
  • “new” Exemption Permits are being granted and issued, which will be valid until 29 November 2025:
    • a person must have a valid original ZEP in order to apply for the “new” Exemption Permit;
    • the “new” Exemption Permit will not be renewable;
    • holders of the “new” Exemption Permits will be allowed to live, study and work in South Africa until 29 November 2025;
    • holders of the “new” Exemption Permits will not be allowed to apply for permanent residency/citizenship or change their status and must declare all minor children born and living in South Africa
Employers and ZEP holders are therefore encouraged to consult with an immigration specialist  to determine which permit or visa is most suitable and apply therefore immediately, so as to not run out of time before the date of expiration of the current permits in November 2024.
To read NEASA’s newsletter on the relevant alternative visas, click here.
Although NEASA assists employers in need of assistance with their incapacity procedures for all ZEP-holder employees, who cannot obtain any of the alternative mainstream visas, NEASA does not process applications for visas and/or permits.

For more information
NEASA Media Department