Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has appointed a team of experts to review several categories of permits and visas issued since May 2004, when the Immigration Act came into force, to determine if they were granted regularly.
A Business Day report says all permanent residence permits, corporate permits (especially in the mining industry), study visas, work permits for professionals, citizen naturalisation and retirement visas issued over this period will be examined. Motsoaledi told Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee on Friday that some of these permits had been granted under dubious circumstances.
The review was prompted by findings of the department’s anti-corruption unit and immigration branch, which Motsoaledi said raised "disturbing issues". The terms of reference for the team of experts – which includes forensic investigators, an advocate, and an attorney – have been developed and it has been given three months to produce a draft report of its findings. The investigation would also highlight system deficiencies in the department.
Motsoaledi told MPs that the department was drafting guidelines on the use of discretion by the Minister in approving the early naturalisation of people as instructed by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane. The draft regulations will be published for public comment and Motsoaledi expects the final regulations to be gazetted by June.