From the news desk

Clamp down on mosques employing illegal foreigners

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The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has issued a strong appeal to masajid and other Muslim organizations, to avoid employing foreign nationals who do not have the appropriate work permits or documentation. This comes after the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) announced that a meeting would be scheduled between the department and mosques, to shed light on the correct employment procedures when dealing with foreigners.

Home Affairs has undertaken an intense campaign to clamp down on the increasing number of illegal immigrants currently being employed in South Africa. This increase has been especially evident at the countries various masajid, where many foreign Muslims have sought occupation. In a bid to tackle this, the department has vowed to impose strict penalties against employers, including a R10 000 fine.

DHA provincial manager, Yusuf Simons, said they had been approached by MJC 1st deputy president, Sheikh Riad Fataar, with concerns about the high number of immigrants being employed at mosques. He had further requested the department host a meeting, to provide insight on the requirements for employing such individuals.

“This is for us an opportunity to go to the MJC and the mosques, and create awareness about the immigration act and the requirements for foreigners working in SA,” he said.

Part of this new collaboration with the MJC, has seen Home Affairs issue a call to mosques to either have the foreign nationals registered with the department, or to have their employment immediately terminated. Any mosque found in violation of this, would be liable for prosecution.

“Nobody should be employed, whether it be at a mosque, school or anywhere else, without the necessary documents from the Department of Home Affairs,” he stressed.

The country’s regulations for the employment of foreigners are considered quite stringent. It includes the unavailability of a suitable South African candidate for the job, the prior advertising of the post, the appropriate qualifications on the part of the applicant, as well as a recommendation from the Department of Labour.

However, Simons noted that in certain cases the Immigration Act would make provisions for some requirements to be waivered, taking into account certain circumstances.

“For example you’d find with foreign sports persons, they will not necessarily have a specific qualification to play that sport. The post will also not have been advertised, so it will fall under a special skills category, and they would then request a waiver of that requirement from the department,” he explained.

Simons encouraged those mosques seeking further clarity on how to employ foreigner nationals, to approach the immediately department.

The MJC has also issue a call for all mosques and other Muslim organisations to attend a meeting with the DHA, which will take place at the MJC offices on the 29th November. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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