The Department is aware of challenges relating to applications for permanent residence permits. The Department took a decision to prioritise temporary residence permits as this category of foreigners was at risk of being in the country illegally if their applications were not finalised timeously.
Accordingly, we have now begun to address permanent residence backlog with effect from August 2012. In addressing this backlog, the Department recognises its role in contributing to South Africa’s economic development and national priorities as they relate to the attraction of critical skills.
As such, we intend to address the backlog by facilitating the expeditious adjudication of Permanent Residence applications from applicants with critical skills. The Department will prioritise applications for permanent residence permits from holders of Quota Work Permits and Exceptional Skills Work Permits in line with the country’s objective of attracting critical skills.
Once these applications are finalised, we shall process other categories of permanent residence applications. Our projection is to finalise the backlog by the end of the current financial year (31 March 2013).
reference: Weekly Media Briefing by Home Affairs Director-General Mkuseli Apleni, Thursday, 22 November 2012