South Africa has taken a key step towards fixing its broken work permit application regime, which the office of President Cyril Ramaphosa has identified as a key impediment to growth.
Companies that want to secure work permits for senior executives and technicians have been invited by the department of home affairs to take part in a pilot of a Trusted Employer Scheme, it said in a government notice this week.
Businesses that want to take advantage of the programme, which is designed to dismantle the byzantine application process, will need to demonstrate that they run training programmes for South Africans, the department said. Participants in the programme will see their applications given higher priority and there will be fewer requirements and a reduced number of supporting documents.
Companies operating in South Africa struggle to find skilled workers, a result of a dysfunctional education system exacerbated by emigration. Still, between 2014 and 2021, only 25 298 skilled work permit visas were approved, according to a report prepared for the presidency earlier this year.
While processing a work visa in South Africa can take 48 weeks or more, the process in Kenya is a maximum of 12 weeks and just eight weeks in Nigeria, according to the report. — (c) 2023 Bloomberg LP