New rules take ef­fect for for­eign em­ploy­ees in An­gola

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS NEWS - Sizwe Dlamini

THE GOV­ERN­MENT of An­gola re­cently en­forced new rules gov­ern­ing the hir­ing of for­eign em­ploy­ees that are ex­pected to im­pact South African busi­nesses.

CRS Tech­nolo­gies, a ser­vices and solutions provider fo­cused on hu­man re­sources and hu­man cap­i­tal man­age­ment, ad­vised South African busi­nesses to take cog­ni­sance of these rules and their pos­si­ble im­pact on oper­a­tions.

CRS iden­ti­fied the most crit­i­cal of these rules, those that were the most ap­pli­ca­ble to the hir­ing of non-res­i­dent for­eign work­ers in An­gola. The rules in­clude: The reg­u­la­tion now al­lows the non-res­i­dent for­eign em­ployee and the em­ployer to freely es­tab­lish the du­ra­tion of the agree­ment, which may be re­newed twice, in ac­cor­dance with the leg­is­la­tion in force. Pre­vi­ously, there was a limit of 36 months on the max­i­mum du­ra­tion.

The value and cur­rency of re­mu­ner­a­tion may be freely agreed be­tween the em­ployer and em­ployee. Pre­vi­ously, pay­ment of re­mu­ner­a­tion had to be the An­golan kwanza.

The new reg­u­la­tion elim­i­nates the pro­hi­bi­tion of ben­e­fits and sup­ple­ments paid di­rectly or in­di­rectly in cash or kind, in an amount ex­ceed­ing 50 per­cent of the ba­sic salary.

The pay­ment of the em­ployee’s re­mu­ner­a­tion in for­eign cur­rency must be made through a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion.

The com­pany said, with the ad­vent of tech­nol­ogy and reg­u­la­tion geared to­wards more re­laxed trade, it be­lieved that Africa was be­com­ing more open and more ac­ces­si­ble to en­trepreneurs and in­no­va­tors.

CRS’s gen­eral man­ager, Ian McAlis­ter, said: “Busi­nesses are mush­room­ing and tech­nol­ogy is of­fer­ing pre­vi­ously in­ac­ces­si­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties to a broader base of com­pa­nies that want to do busi­ness, and tap into rel­a­tively new mar­kets, in­clud­ing An­gola.”

CRS fur­ther ex­plained in a brief Q&A with Busi­ness Re­port:

BR: How ex­actly does the An­golan labour law im­pact South African busi­nesses?

CRS: South African busi­nesses that sec­ond em­ploy­ees to An­gola will be able to ex­tend the du­ra­tion of the con­tract, only be­ing re­stricted in terms of the amount of times it may be ex­tended, which is twice. There­fore they will no longer be re­stricted with the 36-month limit.

In terms of re­mu­ner­at­ing these in­di­vid­u­als, they have the op­tion of be­ing re­mu­ner­ated in ei­ther kwanza or their re­spec­tive cur­rency cho­sen. Al­though the em­ployer should still keep in mind that there must be a “cost of liv­ing” cal­cu­la­tion ev­i­dent in struc­tur­ing the salary, there could be a re­duc­tion in bank costs for these busi­nesses, if for ex­am­ple they paid the em­ploy­ees in rand.

BR: Does it mean we will see a mass mi­gra­tion of skilled South Africans to An­gola?

CRS: This is pos­si­ble, as the lim­its to fringe ben­e­fits and al­lowances have been re­lin­quished, al­low­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of in­creased earn­ings in terms of these al­lowances and fringe ben­e­fits.

BR: Does this new reg­u­la­tion make South Africa less at­trac­tive for skilled mi­grant work­ers?

CRS: Not nec­es­sar­ily. South Africa still pro­vides at­trac­tive em­ploy­ment for skilled mi­grant work­ers in terms of com­pen­sa­tion on skill grade.

BR: Wouldn’t this ac­tu­ally turn out to be a re­lief to work­ers who might face re­trench­ment and some com­pa­nies that are start­ing to feel the ef­fects of the coun­try’s down­grades?

CRS: We can but only spec­u­late in terms of whether the new reg­u­la­tions are a re­lief to cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies, re­spec­tively. It comes down to be­ing a dou­ble edged sword, where re­lief and bur­den may weigh the same at the end of the day.

CRS pro­vides a ser­vice to African coun­tries, in­clud­ing Egypt, Kenya, Nige­ria, Namibia, Botswana, Swazi­land, Le­sotho and Mozam­bique.

PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The prom­e­nade in Luanda, An­gola. The coun­try re­cently in­tro­duced new rules gov­ern­ing the hir­ing of for­eign em­ploy­ees.

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