Foreign nationals whose permits are expiring during the national lockdown are being threatened, put on unpaid leave, and fired even though Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said no one would be penalized during this period.
A worker who spoke to Eyewitness News on condition of anonymity for fear of being victimized said he was told to go on unpaid leave until his permit was renewed.
Meanwhile, police arrested foreign nationals for being illegal immigrants in KwaZulu-Natal.
On the eve of the lockdown, Motsoaledi said his department would only process the replacement of birth certificates, identity documents, as well as death certificates.
But the minister assured foreign nationals that they wouldn’t be penalized if their visas and permits expired during the lockdown.
“We don’t expect people during the lockdown to go and apply for an extension of their permits. We will understand and we will deal with the matter after the 21 days,” Motsoaledi said at the time.
But EWN received cases of workers being placed on unpaid leave until their permits were renewed.
One employer said until Motsoaledi’s undertaking was put on paper, it didn’t count.
Requests to Motsoaledi’s office about when his verbal undertaking would be put down in writing were met with silence. And some foreign nationals left in limbo were among the 50 people who were arrested by police in KZN.
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