Infographic: Overstaying your visa

Our infographic explains the consequences overstaying your visa issued in terms of South Africa’s Immigration Act, and what you can do about it. We also look at the impact of the Covid-19 National Lockdown on this.

Victory in Covid-19 Social Relief Grant Court Case

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Press Release: Celebrating a court victory – some of South Africa’s asylum seekers and special permit holders will be able to apply to the Social Relief of Distress Grant

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Today – the day before World Refugee Day – the Scalabrini Centre, represented by Norton Rose Fulbright, has won a Court Order that may ensure some of South Africa’s asylum-seekers and special-permit holders will be able to apply for the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress grant (‘SRD grant’).

This Court Order signals the finalisation of the urgent litigation launched last month.

What is the impact of this Court Order?

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The Court Order indicates the Minister must publish these changes within ten working days.

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About Scalabrini
The Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town is an NGO based in Cape Town that provides specialised services for refugee, migrant and South African communities.

Press enquiries

Sally Gandar: Head of Advocacy & Legal Advisor, Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town

Laura Macfarlane: Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc


Three insights on migration in a Covid-19 world : Bongani

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The Scalabrini team works with migrants and refugees every day. With such deep expertise at hand, we take the opportunity to reflect on migration with them. This month we speak to Bongani, the Operations Co-ordinator at Scalabrini. He believes that the solidarity seen in Covid-19 lockdown should be taken forward to better South Africa.  

Doors cannot be shut on non-South Africans 

“Covid-19 is a dreadful virus that knows no boundaries and has shown that anyone can be affected.” Bongani acknowledges that the South African government has struggled to provide relief for its people – but that now is not the time to exclude anyone. “We are in direct contact with our brothers and sisters – regardless of colour or creed – who have had to leave home as a way of finding something better for themselves and their loved ones.” 

At work, before lockdown, Bongani noticed how difficult it was for refugees and migrants to integrate “within a society that is still trying to break the boundaries of prejudice.” The added challenge now is access to aid. “The doors cannot be shut on non-South Africans.” While seeing first-hand the conditions that people are living through to survive the Covid-19 lockdown, Bongani has also seen unity and people in communities working together to help each other.  

A common effort is needed by all 

There are lessons to be learnt during this time that could be beneficial to South Africa moving forward, a big lesson being that unity and solidarity always win. “Everyone is fighting a different battle. We should learn to be kind, supportive and caring. Be genuine in your approach to helping people…seeing the individual better is enough of a reward…We are all affected, and a common effort is needed by all.” Bongani asks for us all to find our compassion for one another, with open and honest conversations in order to move forward.  

Solidarity always, not only in the face of a crisis 

Across the world, people are experiencing changes and difficult times. We are living by a specific set of rules in order to help stop the spread and to protect one another.  “In the same way that we are all responsible for adhering to rules and regulations to curb the spread together, we must adhere to and be genuinely responsible for the plight of refugees and non-South African citizens.” 

Across social media we see people coming together and helping one another, which should not trickle away once lockdown and life eases. Bongani’s ideal vision of post Covid-19 South Africa, is a country where compassion and understanding comes as second nature, and caring for the less fortunate is a top priority.  


Guide to Protecting Vulnerable Children in South Africa

Lawyers for Human Rights, CoRMSA and the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town have created a guide to working with vulnerable children in South Africa – including refugee, asylum-seeking, unaccompanied, separated, stateless and undocumented children.

Supporting Migrants and Refugees through the Covid-19 crisis

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In response to the growing need, the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town set up a fundraising drive to support those asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants specifically in need during the nationwide lock-down due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Whilst provisions have been put in place by the South African government for some of the most vulnerable members of society, much of the Covid-19 relief is not available to the refugees, asylum-seeker and migrant community.

Money raised will go directly to our Welfare Programme who will assist those migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees who are in most desperate need at this time. All donations will receive an A18 certificate on request which makes the donations tax deductible.

If you would like to make other donations such as food and clothes please contact

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We have reached our target, thank you for everyone's support. As we continue to navigate lockdown and what this means for migrants and refugees the more we raise the more families we can assist during this unprecedented time.

Following the #BlackLivesMatter protest movements in early June 2020 after the murder of George Floyd, our Backabuddy campaign received a spike in donations. Thank you to all those who donated, to support refugees and migrants in South Africa whose lives have become increasingly vulnerable following the pandemic. 

We stand in solidarity with movements calling for justice, reformation and an end to systematic police brutality and racism. Last week, the world witnessed the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in the USA. Meanwhile, in South Africa, the number of deaths in SANDF and SAPS custody under lock-down emerged (which is at least 11, and included two members of South Africa’s migrant/refugee community). Both of these acts of police brutality are the latest in an ugly history of brutality and racist oppression.

We stand in solidarity with #Black_Lives_Matter, in a call for justice and for reformation. We support organisations doing important work in trying to achieve reform in the criminal justice and prisons sector. We support the important work of Lawyers For Human Rights, the Detention Justice Forum, and others, in this regard. We also support and acknowledge the grassroots and community organisations doing this work

Here is a summary of our impact so far with the funds raised.

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