March 18, 2022

South Africa Published Draft Policy for Foreign Worker Quotas

The proposed National Labour Migration Policy and Employment Services Bill intends to facilitate local’s access to employment opportunities following the high levels of unemployment incurred due to COVID-19. The public consultation process for the introduction of a quota system for foreign national workers has begun and will close on the May 31, 2022.

The bill intends to restrict employment of foreign nationals to only those who obtain the appropriate work visa, are an asylum seeker with the right to work or if they are permitted to work due to an international agreement. Under the new bill, in considering the availability of local skills among the South African citizens, the Minister for Labour and Employment will be able to set quotas for the employment of foreign nationals in one or more sectors or occupational categories, either nationally or regionally. Prior to implementing the applicable quota, the Minister may issue a notice to employers within the sector, giving 30 days to comment on the impact of the quota on their business.

Further to this, the bill determines that a skills transfer plan will be required for all foreign nationals, which is currently only required for ICT applicants and additionally, employers must ensure a labor market test is completed to prove no local is qualified to hold the position as per the current general work permit process.

Employers will also be subject to fines if they fail to comply with documentation and record keeping for workplace audits.

Once the bill is passed into law, foreign national applicants may face additional hurdles in the challenge to obtain work authorization in certain sectors and occupations within the region they intend to work. For employers, they will need to be sure to comply with the quotas in order not to be subject to fines.

For further information on immigration in the South Africa, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team.

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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