South African Trusted Employer Scheme

Your Central Source for Information on the Trusted Employer Scheme in South Africa

What is The Trusted Employer Scheme

The Trusted Employer Scheme is an initiative aimed at simplifying the process of hiring foreign workers for South African corporations. Under this scheme, eligible employers can enjoy expedited processing and reduced complexities in employing foreign talent.

This initiative is driven by the Department of Home Affairs and the Office of the Presidency, signalling a significant push toward a more efficient foreign labour market.

The primary objective of the Trusted Employer Scheme (TES) is to recognize and reward trustworthy users of the program by offering fewer document requirements and faster processing times for visa applications. For corporate employers, the most significant incentive is the ability to quickly process visa applications and mobilize foreign employees, enabling them to begin generating revenue from their services sooner.

During the annual South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC) on April 13, 2023, President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled plans for an overhaul of the work visa system. This Trusted Employer Scheme was already discussed in the Department of Home Affairs’ White Paper in 2017.

The Trusted Employer Scheme was officially announced in regulations published on October 11, 2023.


To be considered for the Trusted Employer status, corporations must meet a Selection Criteria, achieving a minimum score of 80 out of 100 points is required.

The five required criteria are Significant Investment in the South African Economy and Pledge, Number of Employees, Sector Classification, Skills Transfer, and Employment Equity or Equity Equivalents.

In order to qualify, the first 2 criteria must be met, otherwise, you will not be eligible for the Trusted Employers Scheme.

The Trusted Employer Eligibility Scorecard: South Africa

Significant Investment or Pledge in the South African Economy

Significant Investment or Pledge in the South African Economy

Corporate Businesses must have invested a minimum of 100 million Rand in capital expenditures in South Africa since 2018.

It’s very important that this is since 2018, as anything before will not count toward your points.

Investment in operational expenses does not count toward this criterion.

Committing to pledges of 100 million Rand or more at the South African Investment Conferences can also make a business eligible for the Trusted Employer status. (100 Million Rand = 20 Points)

Higher pledges can earn more points, with 200 Million Rand or more, receiving the maximum points available (30 Points)

Number of Employees

Number of Employees

You must have at least 100x Employees, there is no waiver to change this number – this must be met. (20 points)

60% of this labor force must be South African Citizens or Permanent Residents.

These cannot be outsourced labourers or through a labour broker.

If you have 150x or more, maximum points in this category are achieved (25 points)

For corporate businesses with subsidiaries or affiliated companies, the Trusted Employer Scheme assesses the brand rather than individual subsidiaries.

This approach simplifies the evaluation process.

Sector Classification

Sector Classification

Depending on the sector your business operates in, you can earn points.

Renewable energy and energy infrastructure earn 15 points, while manufacturing, services, and resource-based sectors receive 10 Points.

Employee Development

Employee Development

Implementing programs such as Skills Transfer Plans, Bursary Schemes and Graduate Development programmes’ will earn a corporation 20 Points.

Employment Equity or Equity Equivalents

Employment Equity or Equity Equivalents

Corporations with high B-BBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) scores can generate points.

Foreign investors with equity equivalents approved by the Department of Trade and Industry are also eligible for these points.

With a B-BBEE Level of 1-4, you are eligible for 10 Points, and for Level 5-8, you are eligible for 5 Points.

How to participate in the Trusted Employer Scheme

  1. Corporate companies that are interested in participating must be registered and operational.
  2. They must submit their expression of interest with the following Department of Home Affairs form.
  3. Submission can be made at the below details:
    • Delivered by hand to the Department of Home Affairs, 230 Johannes Ramokhoase Street, Hallmark Building (c/o old Proes and Andries Street), Pretoria, 0001, for attention of Mr Phindiwe Mbhele Tel.: (012) 406 7068
    • Mailed to the DHA at Private Bag X114, Pretoria, 0001
    • E-mailed to
  4. Applications must contain all information specified by the Selection Criteria with supporting documents (the email attachment limit is 5MB)
  5. The closing date for submission and application is until 20 November – IBN Immigration Solutions can consult on this process to ensure that an application is best equipped for success.
  6. Applications will be assessed by an inter-departmental committee, including officials from the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Trade Industry and Competition, and the Department of Employment and Labour
  7. Applicants will be advised on the outcome – this decision is final.

Expression of Interest Application Form for Trusted Employer Scheme
Click here to download the Expression of Interest Application Form

Documents Required for Application

To ensure a smooth and efficient application process, please ensure that you have all the required documents readily available. These documents include:

Mandatory Documents

  1. Application Form: Ensure that all sections of the application form are completed thoroughly.


  1. Annexure A: Proof of Pledges
    • SAIC investment pledge with a letter from the DTIC confirming the pledge
    • OR
    • Proof of historical investment in the form of a Declaration of investment signed by the CEO or MD of the company
  2. Annexure B: Proof of Employment
    • Copy of the EEA2 Report from the Department of Employment and Labour
  3. Annexure C: Proof of Economic Sector
    • Confirmation letter from the DTIC
  4. Annexure D: Proof of a Graduate Development Programme
    • Confirmation letter(s) from an Institution of Learning or Recognized Training Facility
    • OR
    • Presentation of an Internal Graduate Programme
  5. Annexure E: Equity Equivalence
    • Proof of B-BBEE rating in the form of a B-BBEE Certificate or Agreement with the Minister/ B-BBEE commission
  6. Annexure F: “Tax Compliance Status” (TCS)
    • Electronic confirmation by SARS that the employer is up to date with their tax affairs
  7. Annexure G: Proof of registration with the Unemployment Insurance Fund
  8. Annexure H: Proof of registration with Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries and Diseases
  9. Annexure I: Proof of registration with the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CPIC)

Please ensure that all documents are accurate, complete, and readily available for submission.


Under this system, compliance obligations are primarily placed on the employer, rather than the government, with corresponding sanctions for non-compliance.

To be included in the Trusted Employer Scheme, employers must undergo verification to demonstrate that they are legitimate businesses capable of adhering to the law.

Conversely, if an employer is found to have violated the rules (e.g., through an audit or Immigration Inspectorate), they may be barred from bringing foreign nationals into South Africa for three years.

In addition, the directors of the company may be personally fined, or the company may be permanently removed from the Trusted Employer Scheme.

South African Trusted Employer Scheme Launched: Video

Frequently Asked Questions

As a Trusted Employer, you will enjoy several advantages, including:

  • Simplified visa applications: Experience a streamlined process with reduced documentation requirements.
  • Accelerated processing times: Benefit from expedited visa processing for your skilled foreign workers.
  • Enhanced reputation: Gain recognition as a compliant and reputable employer, attracting top talent.
  • Dedicated support: Receive assistance from a dedicated Trusted Employer Unit within the Department of Home Affairs.

To maintain your Trusted Employer status, you must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Continued compliance: Maintain compliance with all labor and tax regulations.
  • Skills development programs: Sustain your commitment to skills development initiatives for South African citizens.
  • Regular reporting: Submit regular reports to the Department of Home Affairs on your foreign worker employment practices.

Capital investment made in 2017 or prior will not be considered for points towards eligibility under the Trusted Employer Scheme.

The scheme prioritizes investments made since 2018 to identify businesses that are actively contributing to South Africa’s economic growth and development.

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