Why use an immigration lawyer to assist with your applications for temporary and permanent residence?

When I moved to South Africa 9 years ago I embarked upon the process of applying for a work permit myself. I had numerous years of university education behind me and was a qualified lawyer in the UK so I thought it would be pretty easy. I’d heard the horror stories surrounding the Home Affairs queues, their level of customer service, or lack thereof and the delays, but felt things couldn’t be that bad and was willing to give it a go.

Anyone who has ever set foot inside a Home Affairs office in South Africa and tried to do the application process themselves will know I was in for a big surprise. But the purpose of this article is not to criticize Home Affairs and highlight their incompetency’s, but rather to explain the reason why it is preferable and advisable to instruct the services of a professional to assist you with the immigration process.

The law relating to immigrating to South Africa is contained within the Immigration Act 2002, as amended, read in conjunction with the Immigration Regulations 2005. Arguably, everything you need to know about immigration law in South Africa can be found within these documents. Furthermore, the requirements for each permit can be found on the Home Affairs website and a quick Google search will provide you with a list of documents which you’ll need to hand in at Home Affairs in support of your application. So what’s the problem and why spend money on getting an immigration lawyer to help you?

Know the law

Immigration is a complex legal process which is governed by legislation and the Immigration Act, like any Act of Parliament, is open to interpretation. Unless you are a lawyer and accustomed to reading and interpreting legislation, not only are you likely to face extreme boredom and confusion but you are taking a severe risk in trying to make sense of the law and handling the application process yourself. Home Affairs offer some guidance on their website but fail to elaborate on the finer details. Its all well and good having checklists of documents which you need to obtain but if you’re faced with things as vague as “spousal affidavit” and “proof of joint financial sharing”, what do they actually mean and how do you know if what you have is sufficient evidence which will result in Home Affairs granting a permit.

Our job at LISSA is to advise you as our client exactly what documentation you will need for a successful application, help you obtain it, provide you with templates where applicable and ensure that the final application submitted to Home Affairs is a strong and as possible so as to give you the greatest chance of success.

Be ready for a fight

What do you do as an individual if Home Affairs reject your application for unfounded reasons? The balance is power isn’t exactly fair and anyone faced with an adverse decision from Home Affairs will struggle to fight the beast if left to do so alone. Not only do we ensure that your application is compiled in such a manner so as to reduce the odds of rejection but in the unlikely event that Home Affairs raise a query or issue a rejection we are well equipped and qualified to challenge such outcomes in the correct legal manner by initiating appeal proceedings and ultimately taking Home Affairs to court to force them to finalise applications if need be.

Stress free and peace of mind

Our aim is to make the immigration process to South Africa as simple and stress free as possible. We provide detailed guidance and assist our client’s every step of the way. From the initial consultation to assess your specific needs and formulate a strategy, to advising you of the precise documentation required and assisting you in obtaining this, to submitting the application at Home Affairs for you so that you can avoid the long queues, to ultimately delivering your permit to you at the end of the day.

Affordable yet professional service

Lawyers are not generally known for their charity and philanthropy but that doesn’t mean that professional fees need to be extortionate and unaffordable for client’s. Our transparent fee structure is available on our website so that you can see exactly what you are going to pay.

So whether you are currently in South Africa or have the intension of moving here, we are here to assist you with the immigration process and over the next few weeks will be posting articles covering some of the most frequently asked questions and most common permit types which include:

– extending visitor permits
– general work permits
– spousal or “life partner” permits
– business permits
– retirement permits