The Guide to South African Higher Education | 18th Edition

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Collaboration between IEASA and the Department of Home Affairs pertaining to International Students

By Jade Bailey and Orla Quinlan

IEASA continues to work collaboratively with officials in the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to advocate on behalf of international students, staff and their families. Issues and problems are raised and solved with the appropriate officials in the DHA. Working collaboratively with DHA has improved the responsiveness to international student visa issues, particularly at peak times, and solutions might include exemptions for groups of students or individual interventions.

IEASA is also encouraging universities to set up systems that will track visas and visa renewals. Early notification of visa requirements will enable DHA to pre-empt the volume of study visa renewals and new visas required for the following academic year. Information on the number of visas required will improve DHA’s capacity to deliver their service and ensure the agreed turnaround times for international student visas.

The South African Missions have a certain turnaround time in which to issue study visas. Unfortunately, the delay by South African universities to confirm and, in some cases, the direct refusal to confirm, resulted in the affected international students being refused visas.

An analysis by IEASA estimated the anticipated registration of approximately 11 000 Zimbabwean students at SAHEIs for 2019. IEASA’s members are fully aware that students may not be registered without a valid visa. IEASA deals with all 26 public Higher Education institutions and receives visa-related queries daily.

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