What you need to know about fake work permits in South Africa
You might have obtained your work permit recently and second-guessing whether your visa is valid or not, this is a tricky situation to be in. There are many people out there who pretend to be immigration consultants or immigration lawyers only to scam you and issue you with a fake visa. The worst is being arrested or being detained in South Africa for something that you are not responsible and the Department of Home Affairs is coming down hard on these individuals.
Many who don’t qualify for the critical skills are always looking at applying for the general work visa for South Africa and thus one of the most popular options to forge it because of how difficult it is to obtain it. While this could be true many temporary residence permits are forged throughout South Africa. How to apply for a General Work Permit in South Africa or apply for a work permit South Africa the right way.
Beware of people who guarantee you a visa, as no one in this industry can do that, not even the most experienced immigration consultant or immigration lawyer. There has been news of many immigration consultants who have promised people a permit and blackmailed immigration officials to approve these cases. Be careful of which services you make use of and always apply due diligence. The South African Department of Home Affairs will hold you accountable for any forged documents.
These are the different South Africa visa types you could apply for.
If you are considering applying for temporary permits then you need to ensure that you are making use of professional services. If you wondering how much does a work permit cost in South Africa. We created a blog post in detail about the cost.
To avoid getting a fake work visa, using reputable immigration agents South Africa will assist in getting a valid visa for you.
Many foreigners are working without a work permit in South Africa.
We have created a handy guide for you to read and to keep close, we would advise that you bookmark this blog post so that you can always reference it back and forth when you need the information.
Is my work permit fake?
So currently there are two ways that a work visa can be forged and it’s important to understand the differences. Once you understand the different methods of fraudulent ways then you have a starting point to investigate from.
- A work permit can be forged to look like a real visa, but this has not been printed and entered into the Department of Home Affairs system. So there is no record that it has been issued and details of your particulars.
- Another way of obtaining a “permit” is through a corrupt Home Affairs official who you pay to illegally issue you a permit. The visa is entered onto DHA’s systems but your application has not been screened against the requirements.
How do I know if my work permit is real?
If you made use of an agency or person to get your visa and are worried if its a fraudulent visa then there are certain things you can look at with regards to the visas:
- The words used on the visa would differ from the standard wording on a legally obtained visa.
- There will be colour variations between a fraudulent and legally obtained visa.
- The fonts would be different.
- Your particulars would not be stored or listed on the Department of Home Affairs systems.
- Extremely high fees to get the permit.
Furthermore, there are more important things you can take into consideration if your permit is fraudulent:
- If the person representing you has not requested you to submit your application through VFS then this is a major red flag. All applicants in South Africa are required to submit their applications through VFS.
- You are not allowed to apply for a change of status in SA meaning that if you are on a visit visa then you cannot apply for a work permit.
- Have yourself assessed with an alternative immigration agency to find out if you qualify
If you are paying a home affairs official to get your visa, then you would be held responsible when caught and can face deportation or imprisonment.
Our advice is that it’s better to go the legal route, even though it might take longer and not as quick as you would like. The immigration agent or lawyer can tell you immediately if you qualify or what you need to do to qualify.
How do I check if my work permit is valid?
There are various ways you can check if your work permit is valid in South Africa but you have to tread carefully as the Department of Home Affairs will hold you accountable for this in which you could be banned, fined or imprisoned. Therefore it is in your best interest to check if the person assisting you has a registered business, registered for tax and VAT.
You can use the following methods to verify:
- Email the verifications department: VisaVerifications.Missions@dha.gov.za
- Call the verifications department: 012 406 – 4432
- Walk into the Department of Home Affairs to find out from an immigration officer.
When making use of a representative to apply on your behalf we recommend that you keep a trail of paperwork and any communication. This is the best way so that you have proof if ever you are arrested and detained, in this way a lawyer can represent you which you would have proof.
Before you apply make sure that you have applied your due diligence to the person representing you.
You can verify if your family visa South Africa is valid for example.
I would recommend keeping the following proof:
- Email trails
- Record all phone calls
- Keep invoices
- Record all in-person meetings
The more proof you have the better and keep these in a safe place where they are easily accessible should you need them in future.
We recommend that corporate businesses verify an applicants work permit as they can be held accountable for employing a foreign national with fraudulent papers.
Accompanying spouses in South Africa must apply for their own independent work visa as they are not allowed to work whilst on a dependent visa. There is no such thing as a accompanying spouse work permit in South Africa.
Which visas can be obtained fraudulently?
- General Work Visas
- Spouse Visas
- Life Partner Permits
- Study Permits
- Retirement Permits
- Critical Skills Visas
- Corporate Visas
- Intra-company transfer visas
- Relatives permits
- Permanent residence permits
So when can you be arrested in SA?
The South African immigration act mentions the following when you are considered to be in contravention of the act:
- In possession of a fraudulent or fake permit
- Expired permit
- Not adhering to the conditions of your visa.
- Not in possession of a visa
The experience of being arrested in SA is not a good one and therefore always ensure that you are on the right side of the law. You will never be asked to show your papers but immigration officers have the right to request to see them at any given time. Remember that if you are committing a crime in any sense, you will be imprisoned.
The best thing to do is always keep your passport and permit with you wherever you go and have a telephone or mobile number of someone you can call in SA preferably in the same town as you to help you if you are arrested. We would advise that you beforehand give the person a copy of your passport bio page, permit stamps, contact details for a family member back in your country of residence. The last thing I recommend is giving the person the details of your embassy or consulate in SA to assist you.
What to do if you are arrested with a fraudulent visa?
The South African government together with DHA are cracking down on fraudulent visas and when caught you will be locked up immediately. Our advice does not to try and fight the police or officials and don’t be abusive towards them either. You will be taken to the nearest police station and you will be kept separate.
- Call a family member to let them know you’ve been arrested.
- Ask them to hire an attorney
- Instruct your family member on how to get access to your funds should the need arise
Contact Migrate With Q if you need us to verify your visa and we can assist you with our immigration services. We are more than happy to discuss with you how we can assist you throughout and how we can obtain it the legal way for.
Charl Vollmer has 8 years of experience helping people immigrate to South Africa. I am passionate about helping people and making their dreams a reality. Charl constantly stays up to date with South African Immigration rules and regulations. To contact Charl, visit our contact page.