Zimbabwean Documentation Background and Updates


The Zimbabwean Documentation Project (ZDP) began in 2009. The project was a special dispensation for Zimbabwean nationals present in South Africa who were either using asylum seeker permits due to lack of regular work permit options or who were undocumented and thus considered illegal foreigners. The ZDP project allowed individuals to apply for four year work permits with relaxed requirements. The application period was also accompanied by a moratorium on the deportation of Zimbabweans to entice undocumented individuals to come forward and apply for permits.The ZDP project was largely successful and roughly 275,000 individuals were able to apply for permits, allowing them to work, conduct business, and study in South Africa legally. In 2009, during the initial application and collection process, the Advocacy Programme assisted individuals by conducting information sessions and helping clients with individual cases.As the four year window for ZDP permits comes to a close, the Department of Home Affairs announced that individuals who applied for ZDP permits will be allowed to apply for extensions under a new project entitled the ‘Zimbabwean Special Project’, or ZSP. During this transition from ZDP to ZSP permits, our Employment Access Programme has done stellar work helping individual Zimbabweans coming to the centre from around the Western Cape.  In October, the EAP team assisted more than 300 clients with the online application system, many of whom were first-time visitors to the Scalabrini Centre. Although the online system was fraught with errors in the first few days it was available, throughout the month it has steadily improved and nearly three-quarters of the clients assisted have successfully submitted their applications. The EAP team is continuing to follow-up with both the clients and with VFS on the various issues that are arising, and will work closely with the Advocacy team to address these problems with VFS and the Department of Home Affairs.


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