Over 4,500 jobs in South Africa at risk due to visa delays

 ·28 May 2024

The Western Cape government says that over 4,500 jobs and R1.6 billion in economic value are at risk of being destroyed due to continued backlogs and delays at Home Affairs (DHA) in processing visas.

The provincial government noted that this is happening in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector in the province.

“(The BPO sector) contributes significantly to the national economy, injecting approximately R35 billion into the economy and supporting 100,000 South African jobs nationally—with 60% of those jobs being in the Western Cape,” it said.

“However, at least 4,530 existing local jobs at a cost of R1.585 billion and 300 new jobs for South Africans are at stake because of delays at the Department of Home Affairs.

“These delays relate to processing and finalising of a small number of critical skills, spousal work visas, spousal, life partner, and permanent residency visa applications for training experts, who are needed to upskill and train employees in the sector, thereby enabling the creation of more South African jobs.”

Provincial Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, said that the provincial government has been in discussions with at least six of the BPO companies based in the Western Cape, who noted that these delays have already cost the local economy 50 jobs at an approximate value of R17.5 million.

She said that one application has been outstanding for two years as of May 2024.

Earlier in May, the DHA revealed that its visa backlog had hit 92,000 applications, with minister Aaron Motsoaledi pinning the delays on the spousal visa.

The full spousal visa (Relative’s Visa) accounted for 18,661 applications in the backlog, while the spousal visitor’s visa (Visitor’s Visa Section 11(6)) accounted for 41,083 of the backlogged applications.

The next biggest backlogged applications are the minor child and major child Relative’s Visas.

The minister said that there were no critical skills visas backlogged; however, the data provided was only up to the end of January 2024, and the last three months (February-April 2024) were not included.

The table below outlines the full visa backlog (end Jan 2024).

#Temporary Residence Permit CategoryBacklog
1Visitor’s Visa Section 11(6) (Spousal)41 083
2Relative’s Visa (Spouse)18 661
3Relative’s Visa (minor child) Section 189 580
4Relative’s Visa (major child) Section 183 952
5Visitor’s Visa Section 11(1)(b)(iv) (Work >3 months)3 883
6Relative’s Visa (brother) Section 182 609
7Visitor’s Visa section 11(1)(b)(ii) (Volunteer)2 229
8Relative’s Visa (Parent) Section 182 190
9Study Visa Section 131 751
10Retired Person Visa Section 201 686
11Visitor’s Visa Section 11(2) (Work <3 months)1 233
12Visitor’s Visa Section 11(1) (Visitor)1 106
13Medical Treatment Section 171 090
14Relative’s Visa (sister) Section 18841
15Visitor’s Visa Section 11(1)(b)(iii) (Research)191
16Treaty Visa Section 1449
17Visitor’s Visa Section 11(1)(b)(i) (Academic)14
18Exchange Visa Section 229
Total92 157

Read: South Africa’s massive visa backlog hits over 92,000 – these are the biggest culprits

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