Is South Africa Set on Driving Expats Away?

Migrant workers in South Africa have expressed their concerns over the critical skills list introduced in the country and its tendency to engender the emigration of people from the country who do not meet the new criteria.

South Africa's Skills List Could Make Short of Certain Job Skills

Reuters got a confidential draft of the new criteria which reveals that the new skills list could become effective as early as April and this could be indicative of rising economic nationalism that does not favor the employment of foreigners in South Africa.

There are concerns that the list is not receiving proper consultation

There have also been reactions from people who think the list is being rushed and thus is not being given an adequate consultation. These concerns are coming in spite of the country’s president, Cyril Ramophosa, promising to end the current visa system.

The country’s chief executive of Business Leadership, Bonang Mohale said the draft of the critical skills list was way shorter and restrictive. Sectors like architecture have been removed from it while others in the life and earth sciences have been minimized.

The rapidly-growing tech sector in Cape Town attracted investors like Amazon and Huawei and to maintain the tempo, has formed a special team tasked with lobbying the government and getting it to add corporate general managers and AI engineers on the draft list.

The common concern among experts is that the reduced list could cause a significant number of expats and foreign workers leaving the country because they no longer qualify for work visas in South Africa.

Mohale argues that the country’s job market is already affected by a gross shortage of these skills and that the reductions are only going to make things worse.

Thulani Mavuso, who is the acting director general at South Africa’s Home Affairs, revealed that some sectors of the economy wanted some skills to be on the list, but some other sectors countered it, saying that they didn’t need those skills.

He further revealed that the list will be completed by April and would become effective once the Minister signs it.

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