Foreign national unable to return to Moz during lockdown, stuck in SA with expired visa
Nikhita Rathod, 23, wants to return to her family in Maputo but she has Indian citizenship and her visa has expired.
Rathod said on Tuesday that she had been studying at IIE’s Varsity College in Cape Town from 2017 on a student Visa. She had completed her studies in September last year, but stayed on to do an internship and for her graduation which was to take place last month.
Rathod said that she knew that her visa was going to expire on Tuesday, however, she had thought she would go home after her graduation once the lockdown ended. However, it was extended.
On Sunday, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi extended the country’s state of emergency, which took effect on April 1, until the end of the next month. Nyusi said there would be a limited reopening of the borders to allow specialists, managers and investors into the country.
The student said she felt helpless because even though she had Indian citizenship, she could not go to India because her family no longer lived there.
“My visa is expiring and now Mozambique is also going to extend the lockdown so I don’t have any idea what I must do,” she said.
“Because of this situation my family is also suffering and I had to create a GoFundMe page to gather some money to get a flight when it’s possible.” she said.
Rathod said she has been surviving on her saved salary from her internship for the last three months and that she was trying to contact the Indian and Mozambican government for assistance.
“I am just hoping that the South African government will provide a solution for people stuck here and provide an extension longer than July 31 since there are many countries that are currently under lockdown,” she said.
The Department of Home Affairs last month announced that no visa or permit functions would be open during lockdown level 3, however, permits that expired during the lockdown would be deemed to be valid until July 31.
Sunil Kumar Singh from the High Commission of India said New Delhi only repatriated citizens who were returning to India.
“If there is someone who wants to go to another country there should be a proper reason behind that and they should contact the Indian mission in that country” he said.
Department of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele said their involvement in the repatriation of foreign citizens happened when a country made a request to evacuate their citizens.
Dirco added that they had not received evacuation or repatriation requests from any African countries, however, IOL reported on May 15 that hired buses ferried hundreds of Zimbabwean nationals who have been stranded in South Africa.