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South Africa Unveils Game-Changing Visas for Skilled Workers & Innovators

Published by
WIlliam Dube
  1. The South African Department of Home Affairs is planning to introduce new visa types, such as start-up visas and remote working visas, to attract skilled workers and stimulate economic growth.
  2. A White Paper addressing these new visa types and other key immigration issues is expected to be submitted to the cabinet by April 2024, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s commitments in his State of the Nation Address.
  3. To tackle the substantial backlog of visa applications, the department plans to introduce a “one-stop-shop” visa processing system through the Visa Adjudication System (VAS), aiming to streamline processes and improve efficiency.

The South African Department of Home Affairs has revealed plans to introduce new visa types in an effort to attract skilled workers and foster economic growth in the country. The announcement came as part of the department’s 2023/24 annual performance plan, which outlines its goals and objectives for the current fiscal year.

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi indicated that the department is exploring the possibility of creating new visa categories such as start-up visas and remote working visas. While the current regulatory framework does not support the introduction of these visas, the department has now shifted its stance, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s emphasis on attracting skilled labor in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) over the past two years.

Minister Motsoaledi stated, “The comprehensive review of the work visa system is underway to explore new visa categories that could enable economic growth, such as a start-up visa and a remote working visa.” He added that the department is considering process and policy recommendations from the Vulindlela Task Team, with the aim of establishing a visa regime that attracts talent and promotes tourism.

As part of this initiative, the Department of Home Affairs plans to publish a White Paper on the Management of Citizenship, International Migration and Refugee Protection, which will address these new visa types along with other key immigration issues. The document will cover commitments made during President Ramaphosa’s 2023 SONA, including the establishment of a flexible points-based system for skilled migration, a trusted employer scheme, streamlined application requirements, a remote worker visa, and special dispensation for high-growth start-ups.

The department anticipates completing a consultation document (green paper) by the end of the first quarter of the financial year (June), with the White Paper expected to be submitted to the cabinet by the end of the fourth quarter (April 2024).

In the meantime, the Department of Home Affairs will continue to roll out its e-Visa system, which aims to simplify and secure entry and departure processes for visitors to South Africa.

However, the department is currently grappling with a substantial backlog of over 62,700 applications and waivers, leading to delays and challenges in its back offices. To address this issue, the department plans to introduce a “one-stop-shop” visa processing system through the Visa Adjudication System (VAS), which will allow online submission and electronic adjudication of visa applications.

The VAS will streamline the visa application process for business persons, skilled migrant workers, and potential investors, providing a central administration system through the department’s appointed frontline servicing partner, VFS Global. The department’s goal is to have the new model fully functional by 2025, with the legacy model completely replaced by 2029, while maintaining world-class standards and securing funding for the full execution of the Department of Home Affairs’ mandate.

As South Africa takes steps to reform its visa system and attract skilled workers, the introduction of new visa types and streamlined processes is expected to boost the country’s economy and contribute to its long-term growth.

WIlliam Dube

William Dube is a finance and economic news expert with over 10 years of experience in economic anaylsis, financial product assessment and market analysis. With a numerous certificates from prestigious universities including but not limited to Yale University and the University of Pennyslivenia. William specializes in providing insightful news developments in South Africa and commentary on investment strategies, risk management, and global economic trends. You can contact him on william@rateweb.co.za

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Published by
WIlliam Dube

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