Newsletter February 2016 - Special dispensation for Lesotho


Special dispensation for Lesotho

The special dispensation for Lesotho citizens was approved by cabinet in October 2015. The main objective for the dispensation is to regulate Lesotho citizens who are currently illegally living, working, studying or managing businesses in South Africa. The permit will be in place from 1 February 2016, after which the application process will also start. A permit will be valid for 4 years.  

Lesotho citizens must be registered on their country’s National Population Register (NPR) before they can receive such a permit. They can apply online or in person. Online applications open on 1 March 2016 and the last date for personal applications will be 30 June 2016. A call centre will also be in place from 1 February 2016 to assist applicants in the process. In an effort to streamline the applications, a moratorium has been placed on the deportation of Lesotho citizens until 31 December 2016. Please take note, deportation of Lesotho citizens who commit crime in South Africa will still take place. Amnesty will also be given to Lesotho citizens who are illegally in possession of South African permits, passports and/or ID documents and such documents can be handed in. According to government benefits of the permit include the limitation of bad working conditions, low wages, human rights violations and exploitative labor practices.

To apply for a special permit an applicant should have:

•             A valid passport or travel document;

•             Registration on the NPR of Lesotho;

•             Police clearance in both Lesotho and South Africa;

•             Proof of employment (sworn affidavit of the employer) with a working permit; and/or

•             Proof of business registration from SARS or CIPRO; and/or

•             Registration at an educational institution (study permit)

Employers must encourage employees from Lesotho to apply for the special permit. The initiative will strengthen bi-lateral and regional cooperation, and it will curb human trafficking and cross border smuggling activities.