Immigration officers control the movement of people into and out of the country by stamping their passports and making sure that they have the correct documentation. They check all their details and visa information at the various border posts, airports etc.
Several bodies representing the South African government work at the border posts: the SA Police Service, the South African Revenue Service, and the departments of Home Affairs, Health and Agriculture.
The immigration officer is a representative of the country and its people. They need to work with different people and cultures, so they need to be friendly and patient. They ‘are the face of South Africa’ and, therefore, need to know what is happening in South Africa, so that they can properly inform their customers.
When a passport is checked, the person concerned must be in front of them. They also have a large amount of administration to do, which must be handled personally for safety and security reasons.
On a normal day at the Lebombo border post, for example, about 300 people pass through the border, and over a weekend, the border post sees about 800 people at departures and 400 at arrivals. Work varies between arrivals or departures. Immigration officers are already busy at 06:00 and have to clear those people passing through and make sure they are helped. Every officer has their own number, own stamp, temporary residence permits and a locker. Throughout the working day, passports are stamped and temporary residence permits issued.
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