2 August 2017

SOUTH AFRICA: White Paper published to restructure immigration system

The South African Government has recently approved a progressive vision for its migration policy in a White Paper on international migration. The document provides an introduction of significant immigration changes over the next two years. 

The White Paper follows the proposals that were first outlined in a Green Paper that the former Minister of Home Affairs, MKN Gigaba realised in 2016 and restates the policy objectives of a systemic overhaul of the immigration system. 

The key business immigration proposals are as follows:

  • Points-based work permit system combined with critical skills lists or quotas. The scoring system is to be based on the following factors: qualifications, work experience, age, amount to invest, type of business and ability and willingness to transfer skills to South Africans.
  • Replacing permanent residency with long-term resident visas. This is to ensure that applicants continue to meet qualifying criteria on a periodic basis. However, such long-term resident visas are to be fast-tracked for foreign nationals with needed skills, business or investment funds.
  • Skills transfer. Recruitment of skilled foreign workers is to be linked to a mechanism that ensures that skills are transferred to South African citizens, either through direct training programs or through a levy on employers.
  • Visa-free travel for African nationals. It will allow African citizens to visit South Africa for up to 90 days 
  • Resident visas for students. International students are to be granted resident permits upon graduation to encourage them to stay in the country and contribute to the economy.

How Does This Affect the Client?

Companies should anticipate significant changes to the South African’s immigration regime in the coming two years.





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