It is easy to become legal‚ Lesotho citizens told - Times LIVE
   
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Tue Mar 28 12:07:20 SAST 2017

It is easy to become legal‚ Lesotho citizens told

Staff Reporter | 2016-03-23 14:09:46.0
“We call upon employers to assist in encouraging‚ facilitating and allowing their employees to apply for the special permit. File photo
Image by: MARTIN RHODES

Citizens of Lesotho can apply for special permits to make their residence in SA official‚ just like Zimbabweans have been able to do since 2014.

The Lesotho Special Permit programme applies to those who were in SA before September 30 last year.

“We want people to realise that this special permit is intended to make the lives of the Basotho people easier‚” Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said.

“We call upon employers to assist in encouraging‚ facilitating and allowing their employees to apply for the special permit.

“The end result will be improved relations and cooperation between Lesotho and SA‚ and smuggling and human trafficking will also be more easily tackled.”

Applications for permits can be made online at www.vfsglobal.com or at centres in every province.

“Our teams are ready to handle the high volumes of applications‚” said Jiten Vyas‚ VFS Global chief operations officer‚ for Africa. “We are making every effort to expand our community outreach. So besides fixed application centres‚ we are also launching mobile centres and week-long registration drives at different locations to reach the maximum number of applicants. The application process itself is designed to be as easy and effective an experience as possible.

“Our hope is that by the end of June 2016 we will have had a high response rate from the citizens of Lesotho‚ so they can move freely between home and their places of work or business in SA.”

SA has granted a moratorium on deportations until December 31 and an amnesty has also been extended to Lesotho nationals willing to surrender fraudulent permits‚ or South African passports and identification books/cards. Amnesty letters will be issued to applicants as proof.

It is estimated that more than 400‚000 people from Lesotho live in SA without either valid residence or work permits (visas)‚ making their stay unofficial and unlawful. - TMG Digital.

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