Answer to a question from a reader

Which documents do I need to claim UIF as an asylum seeker?

The short answer

Here's the different ways to assist you.

The whole question

What should I take with me when going to claim my UIF as an asylum seeker? When I contacted the Department of Labour they said they were unable to help me. However, my boss told me that I'm already registered and that he monthly deducts UIF contributions.

The long answer

Thank you for your email asking what documents you as an asylum seeker need to take to claim UIF, as your boss registered you and deducted UIF contributions every month.

These are the documents that the Labour Department requires:

  • A copy of 13-digit bar-coded identity document.
  • A copy of your last six payslips.
  • Information supplied by your employer (Form UI-19 in the case of a private employer and U1-8 in the case of a commercial employer. These forms must be filled in by your employer.)
  • A service certificate from the employer.
  • Proof of registration as a work seeker.
  • A fully completed registration form

The Labour Department is probably saying that they can’t help you because as an asylum seeker, you don’t have an ID document, and their computer systems require an ID number. But they were ordered in 2017 by the Equality Court in Vereeniging, and again in 2019 by the High Court in Pretoria in 2019, to correct their computer systems to allow asylum seekers to claim their UIF benefits. The court found that it was unconstitutional to exclude asylum seekers from claiming their UIF benefits on the grounds that they did not have ID numbers or passports.

It’s likely that the Department of Labour hasn’t yet directed its local offices to make these changes, but as it has been given a clear order by the court to do so, it can be forced to comply with the law.

You could ask the following organisations for help: 

  • Lawyers for Human Rights:
    Johannesburg office: (for Human Rights' Refugee and Migrants Rights Programme)
    Tel: 011 339 1960
    Cape Town office:
    021 424 8561
    email: lhr@lhr.org.za
  • Legal Resources Centre:
    Email: info@lrc.org.za

Answered on April 2, 2020, 11:39 a.m.

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