Home Affairs Changes Permanent Residency Rules for Foreign National Graduates With Critical Skills

Home Affairs Changes Permanent Residency Rules for Foreign National Graduates With Critical Skills

  • Foreign nationals who graduated in South Africa with critical skills will no longer be able to receive permanent residency upon graduating
  • The Department of Home Affairs has now reinstated four waivers that applied to foreign national graduates
  • South Africans seem to have mixed reviews about the department's decision with some saying it is a mistake

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JOHANNESBURG - For the first time since 2014, the Department of Home Affairs has updated the critical skills requirements for foreign students who seek permanent residency in South Africa.

Foreigners who possess critical skills are usually given priority work permits or residency, however, this has now changed for hopeful foreign graduates who studied in SA.

Home Affairs, changes critical skills list, foreign nationals, permanent residency, Aaron Motsoaledi
The Department of Home Affairs has listed 101 jobs that are recognised as critical skills in South Africa. Image: Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press
Source: Getty Images

Unlike in previous years, foreign students who obtain critical skills in South Africa will no longer be given automatic permanent residency. According to BusinessInsider, in 2016, the former Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba signed into law waivers that would allow graduates to live in and work in South Africa hassle-free.

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Foreign students did not have to go through the process of submitting certificates from a professional body, council or board that is recognised by the South African Qualifications Authority to Home Affairs.

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They were also exempt from verifying their skills and qualifications with the relevant departments and did not require to gain five years of post-qualification work experience. They were also not required to get references from previous employers.

Applicants for permanent residency after February 2022, will now have to go through all those processes before being considered by the Department of Home Affairs if they have the necessary critical skills. These regulations for permanent residency have been set in terms of the Immigration Act.

According to Fin24, the critical skills list has also been updated and there are now 101 jobs that have been listed. They include economists, investment managers, civil engineers, quantity surveyors, tax professionals, naval architects and more.

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In the science and health care fields, jobs that have been listed include chemists, environmental managers, geologists, hydrologists, microbiologists and mineralogists.

South Africans weigh in on the change in policy

@elandsboer said:

"JC, SA, read ANC just keeps missing the boat. Legal immigration of foreign graduates should be rewarded with something like residency."

@Tsentsho1 said:

"While I thought people bring in critical skills? So we educate them in our universities and claim they have critical skills? Why don't we train South Africans because our universities are capable? #putsouthafricansfirst"

@LonePatriot_ said:

"They can do what all foreign graduates do worldwide. Apply for jobs, if there are no South Africans who can do those jobs then they may be employed. Subsequently, they’ll follow the correct procedures to be granted permanent residency."

@BillyPablo7 said:

"It was a dumb decision from the gate, how can they qualify in South African institutions then be on special skill? By the mere fact that they were in classes full of South Africans should automatically disqualify them. Jerrr the @MYANC @Lesufi @LebogangMaile1 @OnsBaizaNie."

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Mzansi wants Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to do more than propose legislation to limit employment of foreigners

Briefly News previously reported that Aaron Motsoaledi, the Minister of Home Affairs, says the processes of proposed legislation that will limit the number of foreign nationals being employed in South Africa are already underway.

The minister says the proposed legislation will involve input from the International Labour Organisation.

"We have already approached International Labour Organisation to help us. One of them is to help us provide a Bill that will provide quotas of the number of foreign nationals that can be hired by Industry,” says Motsoaledi.

Motsoaledi explains that international guidance is needed because the department does not want to be in contravention with the Constitution with the proposed legislation.

Source: Briefly News

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