Home Affairs says Critical Skills Work Visa not cancelled

  • Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, has today held a media briefing to clarify reports regarding the removal of the Critical Skills Work Visa.
  • Motsoaledi has confirmed that the Visa has not been done away with, but instead has a new manner of operation.
  • A Critical Skills Work Visa may still be issued by the Director-General to an individual possessing such skills or qualifications determined to be critical for South Africa.

Yesterday Home Affairs Minister, Dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, held a media briefing to discuss the status of Visas locally. This as reports suggested that the Department of Home Affairs had done away with the Critical Skills Work Visa altogether.

Motsoaledi confirmed that this is not not in fact the case, with the Critical Skills Work Visa still very much available, but the mechanism by which is it issued having changed thanks to the Gazetted Draft Second Amendment of the Immigration Regulations, 2014.

“Subject to any prescribed requirement, a critical skills work visa may be issued by the Director-General to an individual possessing such skills or qualifications determined to be critical for the Republic from time to time by the Minister by notice in the gazette,” he clarified.

“As stated in the Act, critical skills are not necessarily referring to important skills or prestigious skills. Critical skills means skills that are solely needed in the Republic for economic development but where there is a dire shortage of such skills within the Republic with a result that we need to look beyond the borders of the country,” he continued.

Motsoaledi also noted that per section 19(2) of the Act, a General Work Visa may be issued by the Director-General to a foreigner not falling within the Critical Skills category contemplated in sub-section 4 and who complies with prescribed requirements.

“Sub-section 4 is the one dealing with critical skills (and) this means general work is anything that is not covered in the critical skills list. The prescribed requirements mentioned in the Act are found in regulation 18 (3) of the previous regulation before the amendments,” he pointed out.

Having clarified the situation regarding the Critical Skills Work Visa, the minister also highlighted the introduction of a new Remote Working Visa.

“The remote Work Visa is for people who are employed in other countries but want to perform that work remotely while staying in South Africa. This will be people in IT, auditing, finance, and any other job which allows you to work remotely. But the catch hear is that none of them must earn an equivalent of less than R1 million. The offer given to them is that they do not have to pay tax for employment of six months,” he explained.

Should you wish to stay longer than the aforementioned six months, however, that is when relevant tax implications come into effect, with individuals likely having to pay tax to their country of origin.

“But if you want to stay for more than six months, then you start paying tax, whether you’re paying tax in America or not, it’s none of our business it’s between you and them. But we are saying we are giving you a remote working visa to come to SA and work for six months, you won’t pay tax. But if you want to stay longer, we will allow you but the tax kicks in, so it does not replace any long-term or visitor visa specifically for these types of people and it can be gotten, only people working remotely because not everyone can remotely anywhere in the world,” he pointed out per SABC News.

Having clarified the current situation, it it clear the Department of Home Affairs still wants to make South Africa look like an attractive destination for foreigners who aim to work while in the country too.

The requirements for the Critical Skills Work Visa can be found here.

You can watch Motsoaledi’s briefing via the SABC video embedded below.

[Image – Photo by Mpho Mojapelo on Unsplash]


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