The chairman of the Somali Community Services Association, Said Mohamed, says he receives every day complaints from Somali immigrants struggling to get appointments on the Gqeberha Refugee Reception Office. Photo: Joseph Chirume
Lack of workers on the Department of Home Affairs in Gqeberha has made making use of for asylum seeker paperwork a nightmare, Somali immigrants say.
Asylum seekers and refugees within the Eastern Cape say the Gqeberha Refugee Reception Office retains transferring their appointment dates and the net reserving system would not all the time work. They say candidates are sometimes turned away on the times they’re to be served. They say officers inform them they got here on the improper day – although they will present appointment letters confirming the date.
Chairman of the affiliation Somali Community Services, Said Mohamed, says he receives a number of complaints every single day from Somali immigrants who’re despatched backwards and forwards by the Ministry of Interior.
Mohamed is skeptical of the federal government’s plan to doc all immigrants within the nation. “If the federal government is severe about their program of accounting for all immigrants within the nation, they shouldn’t reject candidates who willingly go to Home Affairs places of work to use for paperwork to stay peacefully within the nation.
“The on-line reserving system is irritating and takes an extended time to get an appointment date for an asylum doc. I actually have an extended checklist of individuals complaining about their ordeal on the Gqeberha Refugee Reception Office.”
He says individuals are being turned away with out being served, although that they had arrived on the day of their appointment
“I actually have folks whose appointments have been set for June 2022, however which have been then moved to March 2023. Some of the candidates come from exterior Gqeberha. They pay excessive transport charges and must ebook lodging as a result of their appointment letters require them to be within the workplace at 7.30am, says Mohamed.
A Somali refugee who arrived within the nation in 2020, a number of weeks earlier than the Covid lockdown began, says he has struggled to get an asylum allow. He requested that his title not be revealed. “I actually have labored as a store assistant in Kostern. Life is getting harmful as a result of the Department of Labor and Home Affairs have escalated their inspections of shops in search of unlawful immigrants and errant employers. I’m afraid that they’ll discover me within the store and arrest me for working with out a legitimate allow,” he says.
“After unsuccessful attempts to book an appointment, we finally succeeded in July. I am booked until December 2022,” he says.
Another Somali citizen was advised on July 25 that he would have to return for an interview in March 2023. “This shows that the government no longer wants refugees and asylum seekers in this country. How can I wait until March next year to get asylum papers?” he asks.
Mohamed says one other downside Somali immigrants face is getting passports after they wish to journey out of South Africa. He says that they’re requested to current a letter from the nation they intend to go to and a letter from Somalia.
A Somali man who not too long ago wished to go to Uganda, the place his brother lives, stated it isn’t straightforward to get a letter from Somalia as a result of he left when he was nonetheless younger greater than 20 years in the past.
“I don’t know anyone in Somalia because I was very young when I fled the country. My family is scattered outside Somalia,” he says.
Interpreters are additionally a downside, says Mohamed. “It was once straightforward when candidates have been interviewed head to head with the interpreters. The present system is difficult as a result of you might be speaking to somebody who’s in Pretoria and who doesn’t perceive all of the languages of Somalia. People have been turned away as a result of the interpreters advised officers what the applicant didn’t say. We need interpreters who converse all Somali languages.”
Asked for remark, division spokesman David Hlabane referred GroundUp to ministerial spokesperson Siya Qoza, who had not responded to questions on the time of publication.