(Bloomberg) -- South Africa extended for a second time special permits allowing Zimbabwean nationals to live and work in the country until the end of the year. 

The permits had been set to expire on June 30 and result in at least 178,000 Zimbabwean nationals having to return home. Factors including the increased number of visa applications by Zimbabwean nationals seeking to regularize their stay influenced South African Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s decision to grant the extension.

“The minister took into consideration the said factors, including to a certain extent submissions from the affected Zimbabweans, relevant officials of the Department of Home Affairs and other interested parties, and decided to issue another immigration directive,” the department said in a statement dated June 7.

The presence of Zimbabweans and other foreigners in the country has sparked resentment among some South Africans who see them as competitors for scarce jobs, health care and housing. The country has been wracked by sporadic xenophobic violence.

Read: South Africa Extends Zimbabwe Special Permits by Six Months

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