Today's Big Stories

Closed VFS offices could threaten visa status of immigrants - lawyer

This article has been updated after it was first published.

The closure of the VFS Global offices in Cape Town could affect the visa status of immigrants living in the country, according to immigration lawyer Gary Eisenberg.

On Monday, CapeTalk listeners raised concerns regarding their difficulties accessing the offices, which are based at the ABSA Centre in the CBD.

VFS Global is a private visa application service provider that has been contracted by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to manage the visa service.

Eisenberg claims that there is an issue with the landlord and their rental agreement, forcing them to remain closed.

It appears that foreigners wishing to apply for visas or renew their visas do not have access to the building, nor can they book a visit online via VFS website.

According to Eisenberg, this is a problematic legal situation as VFS and DHA have not announced any exemptions in this regard.

People become illegal, people's visas lapse and that is an extremely difficult affair to resolve in terms of South Africa's current immigration regime.

Gary Eisenberg, immigration lawyer at Eisenberg and Associates

He says very little contingency was made by VFS to prepare for the end of their lease agreement.

We have yet to hear what VFS or Home Affairs will do to assist those individuals with lapsed visas. It takes up to a year to do so.

Gary Eisenberg, immigration lawyer at Eisenberg and Associates

Since the the time of the interview, VFS Global have responded with their media statement offering more detail.

They have have been temporarily relocated to 47 Strand Street on the 5th floor, read below for more:

Listen to Eisenberg unpack all the legal implications regarding VFS:

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