Our offices have been inundated with queries since South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs gazetted the updated Critical Skills List earlier this month. 

In the video above, Andreas Krensel discusses the positive and (mostly) negative aspects of the updated list and accompanying requirements. These changes may be detrimental, both to foreign nationals looking to study and work in SA and to SA’s appeal as an enticing work destination for young professionals.

While new roles and descriptions in line with the OFO (Organising Framework for Occupations) have been added, providing legal clarity to immigration providers, corporations and mobility experts on qualification requirements for the Critical Skills Visa, important waivers created expressly to draw talent to our country have been withdrawn. 

The list previously detailed around 170 roles, which has now been pared down to 101. Furthermore, the previous one-year “job-seeker” Critical Skills Visa has been revoked. As Andreas mentions in this article by Luke Daniel for Business Insider: “This was very handy in attracting young, highly qualified people. Now they’ve done away with this. If [South Africa] is serious about attracting international talent, it needs to be attractive as an international comparison.” 

Another revoked waiver applies to students who could previously apply for permanent residence immediately after graduating . This is no longer the case. Graduates now need five years of documented, verified work experience before qualifying for permanent residence.  

Minister Motsoaledi, Mr President – we implore you to consider the effects these rapid and (apparently) badly thought-out changes will have on SA’s economy and appeal as a popular work destination. While we understand the importance of updating immigration legislation in line with international guidelines, let us not create any more barriers to entry for foreign nationals who could help upskill our existing workforce. 

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Compiled by: Lauren Daniels