A Foot in the Door: Access to Asylum in South Africa

Darshan Vigneswaran


Asylum seekers in South Africa experience extreme difficulties lodging their claims at the Department of Home Affairs. This paper utilizes new survey data to measure the extent of the Department’s failures to provide access to the status determination process. The principal finding is that South African officials often go out of their way to prevent asylum seekers from entering the system. This provides support for the argument the Department is beholden to an institutional culture of immigration protectionism. This assessment differs from conventional analyses of poor African performance of status determination which emphasize issues of corruption and institutional capacity.

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