New laws for remote worker and critical skill visas in South Africa

 ·9 Feb 2024

The Department of Home Affairs has published the draft second amendment of the Immigration Regulations, which deals with two key categories of visas – the remote working and critical skills visa – and ancillary matters for public comment.

The new regulations come after extensive lobbying by the Western Cape Government since 2021 for the introduction of a digital nomad visa and reforms to the visa regime to enable South Africa to attract skilled individuals to South Africa, to help develop and grow the economy.

“To boost tourism, facilitate foreign investment, and allow digital nomads to work in South Africa, while spending their earnings here, we need to make it as easy as possible for them to access South Africa,” said WC MEC Mireille Wenger.

“At the same time, it is essential that South Africa can attract and welcome skilled individuals that will contribute to growing the complexity of our economy, facilitate new industries and thereby create new South African jobs.”

According to the draft regulations, foreign workers in South Africa will be able to work for foreign companies on a visa for a period of six months without having to register with the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

This carries the caveat that the worker does not earn the equivalent of R1 million in that period.

If a foreign worker is issued a visa that goes beyond 6 months, they will have to register with SARS.

On the critical skills regulations, the critical skills visa cannot exceed a period of 12 months, and workers will need to provide proof of the necessary qualifications that meet the critical skills requirements.

The critical skills visa will be based on a points system, as determined by the minister.

  • The public can submit their comments on the draft second amendments to the Department of Home Affairs, by the deadline of 29 March 2024.
  • Submissions can be emailed to the Chief Director: Legal Services at [email protected]

The draft can be read below:

Read: Big visa boost for critical skills in South Africa

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