Despite the protections offered to foreign nationals in the Constitution and progressive legislation in place protecting the rights of foreign migrants, the laws are often ignored in practice on the ground, leaving foreign nationals vulnerable and unable to claim their rights. Social and institutional xenophobia continues to plague South Africa.
Foreign nationals are routinely turned away by hospitals or schools, and frontline service delivery is often severely compromised despite laws and policies in place. Foreign nationals are also routinely arrested and unlawfully detained by the police, often having to bribe officials if they are not carrying documentation.
Organisations such as Lawyers for Human Rights have a strong track record of successful litigation on behalf of foreign nationals, especially in the area of immigration law.