This week, for the first time since what feels like forever, I had two in-person networking events on one day. To summarise an experience that felt like a new one: it was fantastic! 

Being able to shake hands, engage in person and share a meal set the mood for an eventful month. As you all know from my last Newsletter feature, I believe it is time for “business as usual” and I am delighted to report that progress has been made. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories, shared opinions and, of course, the lessons we could learn from one another.  

My first event – a delicious breakfast in Green Point with Manuela and Jose Maria Segurola, the latter being the President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. 

I am certain that no secretive information is shared here, as I know that the Spanish Chamber does read our newsletter. What impressed me the most was Jose Maria’s frank assessment of the state of the local economy and the swiftly eroding lead of South Africa compared to other African countries. 

He was very clear about the shortcomings as well as the required steps and shared my disillusion with the capability of the state to implement any meaningful change in the foreseeable future. 

We also agreed that an open immigration policy and practice would bring enormous benefits to the country. Sure, as two foreigners one might think we are biased, this could be true, but I thoroughly recommend reading The Economist’s recent article on mobility in Africa (30 October issue). It quotes some serious academic sources (not just one) indicating clear data in favour of immigration and its benefits for economic growth. It also states that the regional integration in West and East Africa is much more advanced compared to the South of the continent. Not a big surprise, considering that only 30% of South African are in favour of immigration, while this percentage is nearly double in West Africa. 

I wish some of this research would get more publicity in South Africa, but we live in a time where data and objectivity have been replaced by feelings, opinions and alternative truths, so not much hope for this wish. 

On the other hand, and I think this is an important message, he was very complimentary about South Africa as a country, its potential and the citizens. He recently moved to Cape Town and could not stop praising it. This praise carries a lot of value, coming from a person who has lived in Europe, middle America and in several African countries. In the end, we agreed that without real political change, there would be no real change in service delivery or economic policies. Thus, the future of this country is in the hand of the electorate. 

I found Manuela’s energy to change things inspiring. I was missing meeting inspiring people. One’s self-motivation – and I think it is fair to state that I have quite a bit of this – only lasts so long. Her offering to set up meetings with top decision-makers in the government and my possible participation was highly appreciated.  

We want that this country succeeds; this will not be possible without businesses playing a vital role as stakeholders. It is our responsibility to employ this, even if this means to remind the government from time to time of certain non-negotiable deliverables. 

The second event was a dinner among friends, sharing exceptional wine and Grappa, 4G from Philip G Axt and incredible food at Aubergine restaurant in Cape Town’s Gardens area. Dinner consisted of well-overdue laughter and catch-ups. In short, some “normality” is closer than we think, and I fully appreciate it. Let us not think about the middle of December and a possible 4th… you-know-what. Let us remember how motivating and inspiring networking in person can be! 

Firstly, concerning South African immigration, we get a lot of questions from our corporate and private clients on the release of the new Critical Skills list. Unfortunately, we do not know for sure. Rumour has it that the proposed list is with Nedlac. Considering that we had local elections on 1 November, I suspect Nedlac will not be fully focused on getting work done until mid-November and then it is nearly “silly season”. So, either we will see a rushed publication this year or, as my gut feeling tells me, it will be released at the beginning of 2022. If you wish to read more about the new Critical Skills list, please read our article on it in this edition.

Secondly, some Department of Home Affairs officials will soon be arrested for corruption, according to the Minister’s own media statement. It seems to be particularly border officials who are in the spotlight. I wonder if Head Office will soon follow. It might be a good place to look… 

On a lighter note, overall, we are seeing that business is slowly picking up in South Africa, but we have also had some project related work in Namibia and Mozambique, and even some cases in Tanzania, Kenya and Ghana.  

Our office in Johannesburg is doing extremely well under the leadership and hard work of Lindiwe Mapota and her team. Our branches in Mozambique and Namibia are benefitting heavily from Oil and Gas exploration work which is scaling up. Additionally, we had our first cases for Ireland, a country we recently added to our outside Africa service. This offering complements our existing offerings of Germany, France and the UK and Canada will be next. So, in short, two thumbs up from down south this month! 

Keep well and thank you for the encouraging words I receive from time to time; they are highly appreciated.

CONTACT US, to enquire how we can provide Immigration Solutions, catered to your needs!

Stay updated with Immigration News from Africa by signing up for our newsletter HERE.