The short answer
Your permit is still considered valid if it expired on or after 15 March.
The whole question
I'm an asylum seeker and my permit expired. I was also retrenched from my work. I went to the Labour Department to apply for UIF, but they did not want to help me because my permit is expired. What can I do?
The long answer
Home Affairs announced in June that all asylum seeker permits or refugee status documents which had expired from 15 March 2020 onwards, would be considered extended until 31 July 2020.
Following that, on 22 July Home Affairs announced that all permits and visas in South Africa would be extended to 31 October 2020. This still has to be officially published as an amended regulation in the Government Gazette, but it became law from the time it was announced by the Minister of Home Affairs on 22 July.
So provided that your asylum seeker’s permit expired on or after 15 March, your permit is considered valid until 31 October. That means that UIF cannot to refuse to pay your benefits on the grounds of an expired permit.
During lockdown, you can apply for UIF benefits through the UIF online filing system. UIF benefits can be claimed within 12 months of being retrenched and it takes about three weeks to get the first payment after you apply. You need the following documents:
valid form of identification, such as: a 13-Digit ID (Citizens or Permanent Residents); a valid passport/permit; a Refugee Certificate or Refugee ID issued in terms of the Refugees Act or an Asylum Seeker Permit or Visa issued in terms of the Refugees Act;
Form UI-2.8 for banking details;
Copies of your last six payslips;
The relevant UI application form for the type of claim (inquire at Labour Centre for relevant form)
If UIF still refuses to accept that your permit is extended until 31 October 2020, you could contact their Client Service Centre (toll-free) at 0800 843 843.
There have been two important court cases (in 2017 and 2019) in which the court has ruled that if asylum seekers have had UIF payments deducted from their salaries, they must be paid their benefits. In the 2019 case, the court ordered the UIF to change their computer systems to make it possible to pay asylum seekers who do not have 13-digit IDs.
If you need assistance in dealing with the UIF, you could contact one of the following organisations:
Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) Tel: 011 356 5860
ProBono.org Tel: 011 339 6080 (Johannesburg); 031 301 6178 (Durban); 087 806 6070 (Cape Town
The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town (Cape Town) Tel: 021 465 6433 and their Advocacy Programme at 078 260 3536
Lawyers for Human Rights (Nationwide) Tel: 015 534 2203 (Musina); 031 301 0531 (Durban); 012 320 2943 (Pretoria); 011 339 1960 (Johannesburg)
Refugee Rights (Cape Town) Tel: 021 650 3775
Refugee Rights Centre (Port Elizabeth) Tel: 041 504 1310.
Answered on July 30, 2020, 10:30 a.m.
Please note. We are not lawyers or financial advisors. We do our best to make the answers accurate, but we cannot accept any legal liability if there are errors.