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Report: SA must do more to attract skills

South Africa’s job opportunities, established education system and modern technology infrastructure attract skilled immigrants to the country.  These are the findings of recent research conduct by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC). The research aimed to establish the need for importing skills into South Africa and the effect there of on the local economy.

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South Africa’s skills shortage has been a concern since 1994, said the report, adding that it needs a “proactive rather than a reactive policy to address the critical skills gap”.

The report found that South Africa is attractive for highly skilled job seekers with expertise in critical sectors such as the sciences, information communication technology and academia. But when compared with neighbouring countries such as Botswana, South Africa does not have a clearly defined recruitment programme and policy to import the talent it needs in these areas, the HSRC report said.

New immigration regulations amended in 2014 replaced the exceptional skills permit with a critical skills permit, which is only granted to applicants who meet the requirements of the critical skills list published by the department of home affairs. This list includes sectors such as agriculture, engineering, architecture, business and health.

CEO of the Institute for Security Studies, Jakkie Cilliers said in an interview with The Citizen that the government should do more to attract skilled migrants, “We need to do everything we can to bring those people [skilled migrants and foreign entrepreneurs] into the country to invest, create jobs and share skills.”

Mr Cilliers pointed out that, “Solving the education and skills gap could not happen overnight.”  He added that “Skilled immigrants can be of huge benefit to the economy.”

The South African government is consulting with other government departments, academics, business and organised labour, to implement a reviewed critical skills list by April 2019.

Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba, said this will help in attracting and retaining critical skilled labour best to enhance economic development and advance our country’s new path of growth, employment and transformation.

“In order to retain critical skills, foreign students who graduate at South African institutions of higher learning within critical skills categories, are offered an opportunity to apply for permanent residence upon graduation. Those who do not opt for permanent residence are issued with critical skills visas,” he added.

The changes are expected to contribute to the stimulus and recovery plan that was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 21 September 2018.

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Do you qualify for a South African Critical Skills Visa?

If your experience, education and/or career falls into a category South Africa deems as a Critical Skill, you may be eligible to apply for a Critical Skills Visa. These visas typically last 5 years and if you act fast upon receiving one, the Critical Skills visa can be converted into permanent residency in South Africa.

Those who obtain a university degree in a discipline that’s on the Critical Skills list, or who have completed their PhD in South Africa or abroad, are eligible for a Critical Skills Visa.

 

Source: Mail and Guardian, southerntimes, the southafrican

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