Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs

Certification of Refugee Status

After considering all the relevant factors, including efforts made to secure peace and stability in the refugee’s country of origin, the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs may certify that a refugee will remain a refugee indefinitely. Certification is required before a refugee may apply for permanent residence.

Review of manifestly unfounded, abusive or fraudulent asylum applications

The Standing Committee must review and determine all decisions taken by a Refugee Status Determination Officer rejecting an application for asylum as manifestly unfounded, abusive or fraudulent. The Standing Committee may, after having determined a review, confirm, set aside or substitute any decision taken by the Refugee Status Determination Officer.

Withdrawal of Refugee Status

The Standing Committee may withdraw the refugee status (1) if such status has been granted based on fraud, forgery or false or misleading information of a material or substantive nature in relation to the application, (2) if refugee status has been obtained due to an error, omission or oversight, or (3) if the refugee ceases to qualify for refugee status.

A person ceases to qualify for refugee status if, for instance, (1) he or she voluntarily re-avails himself or herself of the protection of the country of his or her nationality, (2) he or she can no longer continue to refuse to avail himself or herself of the protection of the country of his or her nationality because the circumstances in connection with which he or she has been recognised as a refugee have ceased to exist and no other circumstances have arisen which justify his or her continued recognition as a refugee, (3) he or she has committed a schedule 2 crime in South Africa, (4) he or she has committed an offence in relation to the fraudulent possession, acquisition or presentation of a South African identity card, passport, travel document, temporary residence visa or permanent residence permit, or (5) participated in any political activity or campaign in furtherance of any political party or political interests in South Africa.

Before refugee status may be withdrawn, the Standing Committee must provide written notice to the refugee indicating (1) the intention of the Committee to withdraw his or her status, (2) the reasons for the intended withdrawal, and (3) that he or she has the right to make written representations to the Committee within 30 calendar days. Upon receipt of representations, the Committee may either uphold the refugee status or withdraw it.

Application for Certification

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Re-availment

A refugee will be considered to have re-availed himself or herself of the protection of the country of his or her origin, nationality by voluntarily (1) seeking consular services at any diplomatic mission representing his or her country of origin or nationality, (2) applying for any assistance or official document, such as a travel document or citizenship related document, at any diplomatic mission representing his or her country of origin or nationality whether in South Africa or any other country, (3) availing himself or herself of any assistance of any State official or State institution associated with or in his or her country of origin or nationality, (4) presenting himself or herself on the premises of any diplomatic mission representing his or her country of origin or nationality in South Africa or in any other territory, (5) traveling abroad other than with a refugee travel document, (6) applying for and receives any benefit afforded to citizens of his or her country of nationality, (7) standing for political office or votes in any election in respect of his or her country of nationality, without the approval of the Minister of Home Affairs, (8) whether through a port of entry of or irregularly entering the territory of his or her country of origin or nationality or countries where he or she previously resided prior to entering South Africa to apply for asylum or takes measures or prepares to do so, (9) participating in any political campaign or activity related to his or her country of origin or nationality whilst in South Africa without the permission of the Minister,  or (10) traveling abroad in violation of the conditions endorsed on his or her refugee travel document.