SACBC Associate Secretary General: ‘Visa application delays’ A constraint to religious Missionaries in SA

Backlog experience in processing visa applications at the department of Home Affairs is a “cause for concern” for religious orders, says the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) Associate Secretary General.

The recently appointed SACBC Associate Secretary General, Sr Dominica Mkhize from the congregation of Daughters of St Francis of Assisi (FSF) whose work includes dealing with visa applications for religious men and women coming from other countries, says that the agreement between the SACBC and the department of Home Affairs in relation to visa applications for religious personnel needs to be reviewed.

 “Visa application delays” has a direct impact on religious orders in South Africa as seminarians and novices from other countries wishing to complete their studies in the country find themselves having to relocate, leading to loss of religious personnel and economic support.

The 2023 Annual Conference on Immigration themed “Migration in Africa” held at the St. Josephs’ Theological Institute (SJTI) in Cedara – Hilton, KwaZulu Natal brought together over 300 participants, including scholars, religious leaders, a Jurist as well as migrants and refugees who shared their lived experiences in the host country – South Africa.

The immigration conference aimed at addressing migration in Africa for better action at the levels of the Church and society. Among the religious sisters present at the conference was Sr. Nomphumelelo Sithole from the congregation of Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood (CPS) of Mariannhill Diocese.

Meanwhile, Acting Judge at the Durban High Court Dr. Jennifer Anthoo-Marion says the re-establishment of a Pro Borno office in Pietermaritzburg will assist migrants and refugees with free assistance and legal advice with regard to visa applications.

The SACBC Migrants and Refugees Office has provided coordinators with laptops to assist with online visa applications for all in need of assistance.

SACBC report on Annual Immigration Conference held in Cedara – Hilton, KwaZulu Natal


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