Senior immigration officer suspended at Walvis Bay for work visa irregularities

A senior immigration officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration in Walvis Bay was suspended from certain duties on 23 August, after gross irregularities were discovered with the issuing of at least two work visas for South Africans.

The official is not allowed to stamp work visas any more, as in one instance he allowed two South Africans nineteen more months in Namibia to work, contrary to the Immigration Selection Board allowing these two South African nationals only five months in the country.
In the first instance, a work permit application was approved by the selection board on 1 September 2015 for a period of five months until 31 January 2016. This senior official stamped the passport with the work visa stamp and instead changed this date for the validity of the work visa to 15 September 2017, nearly nineteen months more than what the Board allowed.
In the second incident the Selection Board approved a work visa on 22 July 2015 for five months and nine days. However, on the stamp this senior official entered the validity date as 31 July 2017, also nineteen months more than what the Selection Board approved.
Sources within Government who are concerned about the level of irregularities at the Walvis Bay immigration offices provided namib times with documents which raises serious concerns whether there are more similar incidents.
When the newspaper conducted further inquiries there were allegations this official ignores his suspension order and has been seen handling immigration stamps at the Walvis Bay office as recently as this week.
The newspaper was also provided with two memorandums in which this official explained these two exaggerated work visa entries as “errors” due to his workload. His superiors, however seem unconvinced and he was suspended from endorsement (stamping and signing) duties. Whether an investigation into the matter is to follow remains unknown, but officials who supported the newspaper with documents criticised the current system for the issuing of permits, as it is susceptible to corrupt practices. These officials criticised the fact that one of the incidents has been reported to the Anti Corruption Commission but no feedback had been received to date.
What also raises concerns from these documents handed to the newspaper is the possible involvement of a private business specialising in handling applications for passports, visas and citizenship on behalf of clients. Also the exorbitant fees these private agents charged. One document shows a South African applicant that paid in excess of N$10 000 for his work visa application, but the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration’s fee for such application is N$1395-00.

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