Con-artists prey on permit seekers

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The Department of Immigration has warned foreigners against dealing with con-artists claiming that they could facilitate visa renewals and other permits on behalf of the government department.

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO

In a statement, Immigration spokesperson Francis Mpazviriwo yesterday warned people seeking travel documents to avoid falling prey to con-artists misrepresenting as staff from the Immigration Department.

“It has come to the attention of the Department of Immigration and the ministry (Home Affairs) at large, that there are individuals who are initiating unauthorised processes to renew visas and various other permits on behalf of foreign nationals whose permits have been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown measures, appearing as if this has been sanctioned by the Department,” he said.

“The net effect of SI 83 of 2020 [Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020 was that it automatically renewed the immigration status of all foreign nationals whose status became invalid consequent to the lockdown, that is diplomatic status, time restricted residence permits, temporary employment permits, scholars’ permits, students’ permits, temporary permits, visas and visitors’ entry certificates.”

He said the extension of visas was a government service which does not require any facilitation from any third parties.

“The Department of Immigration has not tasked these persons or any individuals for that matter to carry out the exercise of extending the stay of persons, especially foreign nationals who have been affected by the lockdown measures which government recently instituted to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The public are, therefore, urged to ignore any unofficial and unsanctioned communication purportedly being done on behalf of the Immigration Department. For queries, all foreign nationals are therefore requested to contact the Department of Immigration after the lockdown (21 days).”

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