Expats in South Africa worried over shrinking skills list

Expats in South Africa worried over shrinking skills list

Expats in South Africa worried over shrinking skills list

If you’re fancying a skilled job in South Africa, you’ll need to know a cut to the country’s list of critical skills may well be upcoming.

If the shortened list of critical skills now circulating unofficially amongst South Africa’s foreign worker community isn’t just fake news, it’s bad news for expats and would-be expats in a number of sectors. First picked up by Reuters, a copy of the list marked ‘draft confidential’ is being confirmed by immigration lawyers who state it’s being fast-tracked through the South African parliament without adequate consultation.

A good number of expats already working in the country suspect the possible move to curb expat employment contractual terms is one demonstration of an increasing climate of economic nationalism aimed at reducing the hiring of non-South African professionals. It seems access to skill sets and jobs is a delicate subject whilst many millions of poor blacks live out their lives in poverty-stricken townships 25 years after apartheid was ended.

Another reason for cutting back on the expat provision of skill sets may be the need for South Africa to increase its attraction for international investors plus an attempt to deal with unemployment statistics now standing at 27 per cent. Revamping immigration rules could result in more South Africans getting much-needed jobs, but the country’s skills shortage may render this solution impractical. Expats already working in South Africa are nervous about the outcome of any list, with those already considering job offers advised to take a step back whilst more solid information is sought.

It’s thought the list may well be published and implemented over the next several weeks, and could well affect thousands of skilled expat professionals all over the country. According to the Department of Home Affairs’ immigration department, consultations are still continuing as certain sectors are claiming priority for their skill sets and others claiming this is depriving locals of jobs. Unsurprisingly, Cape Town’s tech sector representatives are busy lobbying any lawmaker who will listen to appeals on behalf of AI engineers and corporate executives.

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