A Russian woman who was declared a prohibited person after she was found in possession of a fraudulent work visa, has won her court bid against the Department of Home Affairs with costs, to remain in the country pending her application for status.

‘The second respondent (director-general, Department Home Affairs) is directed to authorise the first applicant, in terms of section 32(1) of the Act, to remain in the Republic pending her application for a status, and such authority shall be given within 10 days of being served with this order,’ Western Cape High Court Judge Matthew Francis ruled.

 The Mercury reports the woman arrived in SA in 2010. She obtained a work permit at the SA Embassy in Moscow to take up this work position, valid until July 2013.

However, after she met her partner and moved in with him in 2014, she submitted an application for a spousal visa, together with a request for work authorisation in terms of section 11(6) of the Immigration Act.

In November 2018, the visa application was rejected on the basis that she was in possession of a fraudulent visa.

She was declared a ‘prohibited person’.

In February 2019, she submitted an appeal to the DG against the department’s rejection of her application for a spousal visa, which was again rejected.

The Mercury report says in May 2021, she launched a court application to review the DG’s decision. The application was granted and the impugned decision was remitted to the DG for reconsideration. However, the DG again dismissed her representations.

Francis found: ‘The DG must have regard to all the facts placed before him by way of representations when exercising his discretion under section 29(2) of the Immigration Act. Nowhere in the reasons provided by the DG is there any indication that the DG, or his officials pursued or attempted to investigate the first applicant’s explanation.’

Francis added: ‘If the first applicant is forced to return to Russia without (her children), a real risk exists that the minor children may become alienated or estranged from her … given Russia’s current state of war.’

Full report in The Mercury