In a recent newsletter dated Monday, 12 February, President Cyril Ramaphosa highlighted the crucial role skilled foreign workers play in driving Mzansi’s economy forward. He emphasized the necessity of welcoming more individuals with specialized skills to navigate the ever-changing global economic landscape.
Ramaphosa stressed that the infusion of skilled foreign workers is essential for the country’s competitiveness, growth, and employment generation. Despite significant investments in expanding access to higher education, implementing digital programs in TVET colleges, and adopting a new pay-for-performance approach to skills development, producing an adequate number of skilled individuals locally will take time.
Addressing challenges in the labour market, a review report from last year identified a misalignment between South Africa’s available labour supply and the demand for professionals, engineers, technicians, science and math educators, and IT experts at the management level. Ramaphosa acknowledged that sourcing high-level skills internationally, at least in the short term, is necessary.
Last week, the Department of Home Affairs introduced four draft amendments to existing immigration regulations, aiming to enhance efforts in attracting workers with critical skills to Mzansi. The amendments focus on two visa categories: a remote working visa and a necessary skills visa.
Ramaphosa highlighted the significance of adapting to the evolving world of work by introducing a remote working visa. This visa caters to skilled workers, particularly in the tech industry, who are drawn to the lifestyle benefits of working remotely. Additionally, it accommodates digital nomads capable of operating from any location globally. Foreign employees working for overseas companies can now obtain
Ramaphosa emphasized that an efficient, agile, and responsive visa regime is pivotal in attracting business investment and fostering economic growth. He highlighted the international experience, showing that employees with critical skills contribute to improved productivity, enhanced innovation, and increased competitiveness for their firms.
In October of the previous year, the Department of Home Affairs introduced guidelines for corporate employers under a ‘Trusted Employer Scheme,’ streamlining the visa process for large investors. This scheme aims to make South Africa more attractive for industries like business process outsourcing and customer experience. Ramaphosa noted the country’s growing appeal as an offshore customer experience delivery destination, coupled with government support for the sector’s expansion.
The president concluded that these initiatives send a clear signal to businesses, demonstrating Mzansi’s commitment to attracting skills aligned with the demands of a modern, inclusive, and growing economy.