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South Africa’s critical skills list ‘not broad enough’

South Africa’s critical skills list ‘not broad enough’

South Africa’S Critical Skills List ‘Not Broad Enough’


Lawyers say that although the new critical skills list, published by the South African Department of Home Affairs, includes 169 occupations in 11 economic sectors it is still insufficient.

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Speaking on behalf of legal professionals ENSafrica, Zahida Ebrahim said that the list is not broad enough to attract enough foreign investment interest to South Africa. ENSafrica commented saying that South Africa’s new critical skills list is not comprehensive enough to attract all the classes of qualified foreigners needed to help grow the economy, immigration lawyers say.

The critical skills visa has now replaced the previous quota and exceptional skills permit. But, says Ms Ebrahim, fields like the maritime industry, oil and gas sector, and finance – economists in particular – were left off the list.

“In the shipping industry, the new regulations do not make provision for a logistics manager. This is a key aspect of their business and it is a scarce skill in the industry,” said Ebrahim.

“The list does still not sufficiently cover South Africa’s wide skills deficit.”
Although the list was broader than that used before, it “has to be expanded to attract more qualified foreigners to grow the country’s economy”, Ebrahim added.
Immigration professionals have also noted that other critical posts, such as those for a biomedical engineers, were not included on the list. 

While these specialists can apply for a general work visa many of them are in industries where companies cannot wait six months for the government to approve visa applications.

The general work visa requires employers to give reasons why a South African cannot fill the position. They also need to list all the unsuccessful candidates.
The new South African critical skills list covers 11 sectors and 169 careers ranging from sheep shearers to agriculture, finance, engineering, medical research and health sectors.

While persons fluent in Flemish, German, Danish, Italian, Mandarin and French are also included on this list so are architects, auditors, geologists and tradesman like boilermakers and Fitters.

Gigaba has, on previous occasions, said that the new regulations and critical skills work visas would make it easier for South Africa to secure critical skills by recruiting international professionals with the experience and education needed to positively contribute to the country’s economy. Yet some feel that the list excludes key professions which are cause for concern.

Speaking at a press conference last month Department of Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said that, “Foreign nationals possessing critical skills can now apply for and be granted a critical skills visa, even without a job, allowing them to enter the country and seek work for a period of up to 12 months.”

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