Big visa changes for South Africa are back

 ·21 May 2024

The Department of Home Affairs has re-gazetted amendments to South Africa’s immigration laws, after previously gazetting and then withdrawing them.

On 28 March, the DHA published the amended immigration regulations.

However, because this was a day before the closing date of the public comment period, the minister, Aaron Motsoaledi issued a notice withdrawing the changes.

This created confusion and consternation among businesses and in the tourism industry in particular, as the amendments introduced long-sought-after changes to visas and the entry of critical skills to South Africa.

Among other things, the regulations replaced the highly-contested critical skills list with a new points-based system and introduced the remote work visa class.

At the time of the withdrawal—12 April—the minister said that the regulations would be revised within a week. However, it took more than a month.

On Monday (20 May), the amendments were regazetted.

The regulations were received positively by businesses in South Africa, with the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa saying that they should ease the administrative burden that international companies with businesses in South Africa face when hiring skilled foreigners.

Remote Work Visa

The Remote Work Visa is designed for individuals wishing to work in South Africa while working for foreign employers.

The visa targets high-earning individuals and aims to stimulate the South African economy.

The remote work visa applies to foreign employers who derive a foreign source of income on a remote basis, provided that:

  • The worker earns a gross income of no less than the equivalent of R1 million per annum
  • If the visa is issued for a period not exceeding 6 months within a 36 month period, the foreigner may apply to be exempted by SARS from registering as a taxpayer. If the visa is issued for longer, they must register.

General Work Visa changes

The aforementioned Points-Based system for a General Work Visa aims to eliminate the need to obtain a letter from the Department of Labour.

This new streamlined approach looks at criteria based on factors, such as age and qualifications to determine visa eligibility on a points-based scale.

The system is based on:

  • Age
  • Qualifications
  • Language skills
  • Work experience
  • Offer of employment
  • Salary
  • any other relevant factor

Critical Skills List

Organisations can now also expedite the gazetting process for critical skills that are seen as essential, removing the previous four-year waiting period.

This should facilitate swift approval for in-demand skills.

The full amendments can be read below:

Read: Another visa mess for South Africa

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