Below you will find the latest news on immigration in South Africa.
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articles and television, you'll be able to find the most up to date
and relevant headlines concerning your immigration right here.
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Last updated: 5 April 2005
Devising a strategy to win over immigrants
who can make
By Ann Bernstein - Cape Times
The finance minister predicts that the economy is expected to grow
by 4 to 4.5% over the next three years.
But if and when we begin to achieve sustained levels of growth at
or above 4%, we will unmask a crisis -
South Africa's desperate shortage of the skills that an emerging
export-oriented economy requires.
The president has been forthright about the lack of capacity in
the public service and the delivery problems this causes. The Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor consistently rates South Africa well below
competitor developing countries partly because we are not encouraging
risk-taking entrepreneurs to move to South Africa.
Now the president's International Investment Council has lent its
weight to calls for greater freedom to import skills into the country.
Although a dramatic upgrading of our educational system is the most
vital strategy to combat our skills crisis, we urgently need a short-term
It will be years, if not decades, before current educational reform
and training initiatives bear results on scale,
and these very initiatives are constrained by a lack of skilled
educators, trainers and mentors.
The immediate solution is an open door, market-driven immigration
policy. We must import the skills we need to
help grow the economy.
There is a popular misconception that skilled immigrants "steal"
jobs from South Africans.
The truth is that one qualified immigrant teacher of mathematics
or bookkeeping can probably "create" scores of jobs without
in any way reducing the chance of a similarly qualified South African
More importantly, every skilled professional directly or indirectly
generates additional jobs. And each new skilled immigrant will create
new jobs for South Africans simply by buying goods and services
and paying tax.
The response of the Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE)
to the draft new immigration regulations is
broadly positive - many amendments significantly ease procedures
for entry into the country. However, this does
not necessarily mean SA will have a successful immigration policy.
We are concerned about two overarching factors.
Many of the key requirements for immigrants, implemented in the
context of capacity and efficiency problems
in public administration, could lead to time-consuming, costly compliance
procedures. A zealous application of regulations could reinforce
the image of South Africa's immigration regime as slow and highly
Our second concern relates to the overall policy context within
which regulations will be interpreted and implemented. What is the
government's attitude to migrants?
How are officials being guided with respect to the inevitable judgment
calls that any immigration system will demand?
In a context of ambiguity or uncertainly concerning our approach
and attitude to migration, the odds are enormous that the new act
and associated regulations will be implemented restrictively.
In the process we will protect small groups of interests inside
the country, and hold back our (and the region's) progress enormously.We
are also worried about specific requirements in the new regulations.
Quotas: There can easily be a mismatch between how quotas define
the skills we need and the actual skills required by South Africa's
fast moving economy. The regulations pertaining to quota work permits
substantially circumscribe the flexibility of the proposed immigration
There are enormous difficulties in defining and quantifying quota
categories and even greater difficulties in keeping abreast of the
changing combinations of skills in newer technologies. It is impossible
to predict demand for employees by levels of skill and education
more than two or three years ahead - making predictive precision
doubtful from the outset.
The regulations pertaining to quota work permits substantially
circumscribe the flexibility of our proposed immigration control
Business permits: The proposed requirements will discourage potential
investors. The level of capital investment is too high; the requirement
to base new business in out of the way places is a strategy that
has failed here and around the world; the necessity to employ five
South Africans in new businesses ignores the reality that many small
businesses start out as knowledge-intensive one- or two-person operations
or as family enterprises and only later grow to include non-family
Why exclude these productive individuals from our economy and tax
base? The entry requirements in respect of business permits are
After 10 years of democratic rule and years of debate on migration,
the time has come for a bold new approach.
The CDE believes the new immigration regime must:
- Send a clear message to all relevant officials that immigration
has positive consequences for all South Africans.
- Reassure employers that speedy processes are available for them
to recruit the skills they need.
- Enable and encourage departments and corporations to actively
recruit the large numbers of skills we need.
- Send a message to prospective immigrants across the globe that
South Africa welcomes foreigners who can make
a productive contribution to our economy, strengthen our project
management skills and help train our young people.
The CDE is unambiguously in favour of much greater migration into
South Africa. Skilled people - trained by another country's taxes
- will help educate/train South Africans, and provide the doctors,
computer technicians and qualified teachers that we desperately
We can import people to manage development projects effectively
and in the process mentor those starting out in the profession;
and start new businesses that pay taxes and will in time employ
The benefits of a wide open policy for immigrants will provide
enormous advantages to all South Africans.
- Bernstein is executive director of the Centre for Development
and Enterprise. This article is based on CDE's numerous publications
on immigration policy and on its recent submission to government
commenting on the new draft immigration regulations.