Skilled foreigners welcome in SA
27 February 2006
South Africa is welcoming skilled foreigners with open arms. The government has issued a list of quota work permits for selected professions, which means foreign nationals with the required qualifications and experience will be allowed to enter the country without first having secured employment.
The permits are issued according to a yearly quota, determined by the National Critical Skills list according to how scarce or essential a particular skill is in South Africa.
The regulations are designed to raise skills levels in the country, as part of the broad government initiative boost economic growth to 6% by 2010 and halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.
Last week Public Service and Administration Minister Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi announced that foreign nationals who met the requirements would be allowed to apply at a foreign mission abroad or at any Home Affairs office inside South Africa.
The quotas were determined in consultation with the departments of Trade and Industry and Labour.
Unlike other work permits, quota work permits are issued to applicants before they have secured employment. Holders are allowed into to South Africa so that they can look for jobs in specific professions. The permits don't guarantee employment; rather, they give skilled foreigners the opportunity to compete for work in the country on an equal footing with South Africans.
This is a major departure from the previous system, which required proof that a South African could not have filled the post.
Fifty-six occupations have been identified, with the requirement that the potential job seeker should have at least five years experience and have registered with their relevant professional body.
"These quotas are determined using the National Critical Skills list - a mechanism designed to assist in recruiting certain skills into South Africa," Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula said when the quotas were announced.
"Foreign nationals who are already in the country and possess the needed skills may also apply for work quota permits. These do not only apply to those outside the country."
The full list of the annual quotas for each profession is below. All require registration with the relevant professional body, where applicable, and at least five years' relevant experience.
Science and engineering
- Aeronautical engineers - 500
- Aircraft maintenance engineers - 500
- Autotronics: vehicle diagnostic technicians - 500
- Avionic engineers - 250
- Chemical engineers (including rubber & plastic) - 100
- Construction: civil/structural
engineers - 5 000
- Design and engineering: piping and pipe laying - 500
- Electronic: radio frequency and signal engineers; microwave and satellite
engineers - 500
- Geologists - 100
- Astronomers - 200
- Astrophysicists - 200
- Atmospheric physicists - 200
- Surface physicist - 200
- Space scientists - 200
- Geophysicists - 150
- Industrial Engineers - 5 000
- Jewellery designers - 250
- Mechanical engineers (including pressure vessel and stress analysis) - 1 000
- Metallurgical engineers (including material processes and development;
metrologists) - 250
- Mining: rock and colliery engineers - 100
- Aircraft maintenance technicians - 1 000
- Architectural technicians - 1 000
- Aviations technicians (aviation-specific design and machining technologies) - 1 000
- Dimensional controllers - 100
- Earth sciences technicians - 250
- Electrical mechanical including instrumentation - 1 000
- Electronic technicians: silicon and microchip developers - 1 000
- Foundry metallurgists - 500
- Hydraulics and pneumatics technicians - 1 000
- Industrial / product development technologists - 1 000
- NDE technicians - 500
- Tool designers (including millwrights, melters, coded welders and moulders) - 3000
- Maths and science teachers - 1 000
- Biological science technicians - 3 000
- Bioinformatics - 1 000
- Biomedical engineers - 1 000
- Combinatorial and computational
chemistry - 150
- Software developers - 1 500
- Software engineers - 1 500
- ICT security specialists (including dimensional controllers) - 1 000
- Agricultural economist (econometrics) - 500
- Agricultural engineers (including farm irrigation systems engineers) - 1000
- Agricultural extension officers (technology-focused) - 1 000
- Agricultural statistics: biometrician, crop modeler - 1000
- Agricultural biotechnologists, genetic markers and promoters - 1 000
- Virologists - 250
- Oenologist / viticulture - 350
- Geneticists (plant breeders) - 1 000
- Pasture scientists - 500
- Plant pathologists - 1 000
- Food safety quality-assurance
specialists - 500
- Veterinarians - 500
- Actuaries - 500
- Financial market analyst - 500
- Risk managers - 500