Enhancing services to International Students and Staff
University staff members are better able to understand and deal with issues relating to immigration laws and regulations following the recent immigration workshop hosted by UKZN’s International Office on the Westville campus.
The workshop focused on securing more information from the responsible departments on visa requirements and regulations, refugee status, passports and asylum seekers.
The workshop is likely to ensure improved provision of services and advice to UKZN’s approximately 2 800 international students, 200 international post-doctoral research fellows and 500 international academics.
Workshop attendees included representatives from other universities that work with international students, the Department of Home Affairs, UKZN staff and students, refugee and asylum seekers, as well as representatives from Human Resources and the Research Office.
Home Affairs Local Office Manager for eThekwini, Mr Wesley Dlamini, gave a brief overview of student requirements when applying for study, work, visitors’ and exceptional skills visas. He stressed that only legitimate applications would be accepted and processed.
Ms Naleen Balgobind, Manager of Asylum Seekers and Refugees at Home Affairs, said asylum seekers can register with universities and study pending the outcome of the asylum application, which usually takes about three months. She said the onus rests on the student to provide the University with the outcome of the application.
The stated outcomes of the workshop were to:
• enhance a joint understanding of the policies and processes of Home Affairs;
• reach an agreement with Home Affairs on uniform and standard practice in implementing these policies locally and abroad;
• interpret the policies and regulations of Home Affairs;
• ;promote on-going dialogue and communication between UKZN and Home Affairs;
• identify contact persons at all regional centres with all contact details for purposes of communication;
• invite Home Affairs officials onto campuses during mutually agreed times;
• convene regular meeting between the offices of Home Affairs and the offices of International Relations UKZN on changes and amendments to policy; and
• the creation of an Memorandum of Co-operation between UKZN and the Department of Home Affairs.
- Sithembile Shabangu