Cape Town - Immigration lawyers say poor families are excluded from the new requirement that South Africans wanting to apply for a visa for a close relative must prove they earn at least R8 500 a month.
“An obvious situation is where people are seeking to unite extended families and they are unable to meet the threshold,” immigration lawyer Chris Watters says.
He said although it was not spelt out, his understanding of the regulations was that the R8 500 referred to disposable income. However, he said, the UK and Canada, had similar provisions and set even higher income thresholds.
The new regulations also require that applicants provide a police clearance certificate and proof of kinship – which must include an unabridged birth certificate and a paternity test results where necessary.
Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said the provision would not necessarily exclude poor South Africans because those who did not meet the requirement could apply to be exempted.
“The regulations provide that if you had compelling reasons and did not meet any of the requirements, you could apply for a waiver of any of the requirements,” Tshwete said.
The person who is issued with a relative’s visa is not allowed to work.
South Africans had other options for uniting their families that did not require proof that income was at least R8 500.
“If one of the parents is a South African, the children may apply for citizenship, and if one of the parents is a permanent resident, the children may apply for permanent residence.”