Family joining in South Africa
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When does dependency arise?
The dependent spouse and children of a recognised refugee or asylum seeker are entitled to refugee or asylum seeker status in South Africa, irrespective of the following:
- whether the recognised refugee or asylum seeker declared their existence when he or she applied for refugee status and asylum;
- when they applied for refugee status and asylum; or
- where they were married to, or born to, the recognised refugee or asylum seeker.
Note that neither a Refugee Status Determination Officer (RSDO) nor a Refugee Reception Office (RRO) can regard the failure of the recognised refugee or asylum seeker to declare a dependent as an exclusionary factor for family joining.1
This was confirmed by 2019 court case, SCCT and Others v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (5242/16), which set out Standard Operating Procedures on the family joining process.