Angolan ex-refugees given chance to apply for residency in South Africa

Published: 21/Nov/2016
Source: Legal Resources Centre (South Africa)

Last week, on 17 Novem­ber 2016, a set­tle­ment was reached in a year-long case regard­ing for­mer Angolan refugees still liv­ing in South Africa on expired Angolan Ces­sa­tion Per­mits.

The nego­ti­ated set­tle­ment allows for for­mer Angolan refugees falling into this cat­e­gory to sub­mit fur­ther doc­u­ments to the Depart­ment of Home Affairs in order to attempt to reg­u­larise their stay in South Africa and apply for per­ma­nent res­i­dency.

The Legal Resources Cen­tre (LRC) rep­re­sented Scal­abrini Cen­tre of Cape Town and a num­ber of for­mer Angolan refugees in lit­i­ga­tion against the Depart­ment of Home Affairs regard­ing the legal sta­tus of for­mer Angolan refugees in South Africa.

In 2013, Home Affairs decided that for­mer Angolan refugees no longer needed the pro­tec­tion of the South African gov­ern­ment, as Angola was con­sid­ered polit­i­cally sta­ble. Those Angolans who had been recog­nised refugees in South Africa were advised to apply for a spe­cial type of visa (Angolan Ces­sa­tion Process Per­mit) which would allow them to legally work and study in South Africa for another two years, while mak­ing plans to return to their coun­try.

Many Angolans have lived in South Africa for close to 20 years. They have cre­ated lives for them­selves and raised their fam­i­lies in South Africa.

How­ever, the ACP per­mit was non-renewable. This meant that, as these per­mits expired, Angolans that were for­merly recog­nised as refugees were ren­dered ille­gal in the coun­try that many of them have called home for close to two decades.

The LRC’s client, Scal­abrini Cen­tre Cape Town, tried to assist such Angolans in nego­ti­a­tions with Home Affairs, as well as to apply for per­ma­nent res­i­dency. Scal­abrini also applied for a group exemp­tion for these per­sons in terms of sec­tion 31(2)(b) of the Immi­gra­tion Act.

When these appli­ca­tions did not suc­ceed, Scal­abrini approached the LRC for assis­tance in lit­i­gat­ing for the rights of Angolans who had pre­vi­ously held ACP Per­mits.

After exten­sive legal and set­tle­ment nego­ti­a­tions with the Depart­ment, the Cape Town High Court issued an order by agree­ment between the par­ties. As part of this order, all Angolans who have held ACP Per­mits are now able to sub­mit appli­ca­tions for per­ma­nent res­i­dence and are exempted from pay­ing the usual appli­ca­tion fee.

These appli­ca­tions must first be sub­mit­ted to Scal­abrini Cen­tre, accom­pa­nied by cer­tain doc­u­ments, and Scal­abrini has under­taken to col­late the appli­ca­tions and sub­mit them to the Depart­ment of Home Affairs. The dead­line for this sub­mis­sion is 20 Jan­u­ary 2017.

Scal­abrini has more infor­ma­tion for any for­mer Angolan refugee who had been issued with an ACP Per­mit and would like to apply for res­i­dency here.

Read on LRC website:

Read court order on Scalabrini website:

Themes: Nationalité des réfugiés
Regions: Afrique du Sud
Year: 2016