Which occupations will be on the new Critical Skills List in South Africa 2021?

The current Critical Skills List valid in South Africa was published in 2014. However, a new and updated 2021 Critical Skills List one can be expected soon. When?

This is still unconfirmed but there are indications that this still might happen in 2021. Judging from our experience of over 20 years in South African immigration, it might also take longer than initially indicated. What we do know though is that the draft list was published in February of 2021 for public comment and IBN Immigration Solutions did submit comments to the draft list through a business chamber.

What is the 2021 Critical Skills List in South Africa and why is it so important?

The list’s primary aim of the 2021 critical skills list is to identify occupations that are in shortage and unlikely to be developed domestically in time to prevent the obstruction of short-to-medium term economic growth.

For any employer in need of highly skilled employees, the potential changes in the 2021 critical skills list are important to follow.

How was the 2021 Critical Skills List in South Africa compiled?

Assessing skills shortage in any country is a task requiring high-level labour market insight. The new list was drafted by the Department of Higher Education and Training and particular focus was given to the assessment of whether current skills shortages will be transitory or if they have embedded themselves in the labour market. Comments from stakeholders, industry groups and professional bodies were taken into account.

It can be expected that the Department of Home Affairs will further narrow down this list.

What occupations are new on the new Critical Skills List?

In order to be included on the new Critical Skills List 2021, occupations must meet three requirements:

  • Currently be in acute shortage or likely to be in the future, due to its importance for South African strategic priorities,
  • Require a high-level skill or advanced qualification,
  • Require a long lead time to develop a domestic supply pipeline.

This resulted in occupations such as CIO, Data Management Manager, General Accountant, Management Consultant, Investment Manager, Digital Artist, Multimedia Designer, Web Designer, Chef and University Lecturer being included in the Critical Skills List for the first time.

Pharmacists, Nurses and Medical Doctors are on the list, so are a lot of IT related occupations and various engineering occupations and also quite a few trades, such as carpenters, fitters and joiners.

What occupations have been removed?

As expected, the Corporate General Manager has been removed, the call-center industry will certainly miss the foreign-language speakers and a locally obtained PhD will no longer qualify you for the critical skills list.

What does the new critical skills list mean for applicants with critical skills?

Holders of Critical Skills visa in categories that will most likely be removed should contemplate applying for permanent residence urgently. According to the most recent announcement of DHA, permanent residence applications will be allowed to be submitted from January 2022 onwards.

Foreigners with qualifications and occupations on the new list should contemplate applying for a SAQA certificate now. This certificate will be needed even under the updated list. Currently, the processing time for a SAQA certificate is around four months, sometimes even longer. It does not expire.

The new Critical Skills List in South Africa will be published at GOV.ZA
Find the current Critical Skills List in South Africa here.

For any questions regarding the old and new critical skills list, please contact us 

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