SA im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem is ‘worst in the world’

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Sizwe Dlamini

“FOR A COUN­TRY burn­ing with de­sire to hire talent, South Africa has the worst im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem in the world.”

This was the view of im­mi­gra­tion lawyer Gary Eisen­berg, who was part of a panel dis­cus­sion at Univer­sity of Cape Town’s (UCT’s) an­nual Africa Ca­reers Expo. The an­nual event was held on May 23 as part of a pro­gramme of events for Africa Month.

The expo fa­cil­i­tated stu­dent and re­cruiter in­tro­duc­tions, and cre­ated a plat­form for in­ves­ti­gat­ing grad­u­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties on the con­ti­nent.

Panel dis­cus­sions in­cluded an em­ployer Q&A, and a ses­sion on se­cur­ing work per­mits, dur­ing which Eisen­berg and Kenyan-born UCT grad­u­ate Dr Jen­nifer Githaiga of­fered ad­vice to grad­u­ates wish­ing to work in South Africa.

About 5 000 in­ter­na­tional stu­dents from more than 100 coun­tries study at UCT. But re­gard­less of the skills or qual­i­fi­ca­tions that they have to of­fer, only a small mi­nor­ity will suc­ceed in se­cur­ing the right to em­ploy­ment in South Africa af­ter grad­u­a­tion. Eisen­berg of­fered le­gal ad­vice on nav­i­gat­ing an in­creas­ingly com­plex im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem. Both pan­el­lists painted a bleak pic­ture for grad­u­ates from Africa and be­yond.

Al­though there were tech­ni­cally three types of visas that fall into the work per­mit cat­e­gory, two were vir­tu­ally use­less to for­eign grad­u­ates, said Eisen­berg. In­tra-Com­pany Trans­fer Visas cater to em­ploy­ees of for­eign com­pa­nies who al­ready hold po­si­tions over­seas, and Gen­eral Work Visa ap­pli­cants are met with a suc­cess rate of about 4 per­cent.

The ap­pli­ca­tion process for a Gen­eral Work Visa is par­tic­u­larly oner­ous. For­eign qual­i­fi­ca­tions must be vet­ted by the SA Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Au­thor­ity, back­ground checks con­ducted, and let­ters from prospec­tive em­ploy­ers pro­cured – all be­fore the De­part­ment of Labour de­cides whether or not to cer­tify that a South African could not do the same job. Only at this point can an ap­pli­ca­tion be sub­mit­ted for ad­ju­di­ca­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.