As at Thursday, Zimbabweans living in South Africa with the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit (ZEP) have exactly a month to find alternative ways to regularise their stay.
The ZEP is set to expire in June as the South African government has made moves towards its discontinuation.
Over 178,000 Zimbabweans have been living, working and attending school using the Zimbabwean Exemption Permit.
But now, over a decade since its initial issue the Department of Home Affairs Department has argued that the permit was never meant to be permanent.
At the same time, three civil rights groups have challenged this move in the Pretoria High Court.
If the Pretoria High Court rules in favour of the Department of Home Affairs Department, the stay of over 178,000 Zimbabweans in South Africa will be at risk.
Until recently, the department has been requiring Zimbabweans to apply for alternative permits such as the spousal or work permit but the process has not been all that smooth.
Many who have opted for the work permit have had to travel back to Zimbabwe to start their application.
They have also had to apply with the Department of Labour for exemptions if their skills are not considered scarce or high demand.
But Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said he has been making exceptions.