Archive from August, 2019
Aug 31, 2019 - Uncategorized    No Comments

New critical skills list for SA expected in 2020

The critical skills visa is one of a few options that potential
immigrants can use to seek legal status, and aims to ensure that only
individuals whose skills are in short supply are able to settle in
the country. The existing list, which was compiled and gazetted in
2014, includes a long list of occupations.
Earlier in 2019, a new draft list that was more restrictive came into
circulation. Immigration lawyers, who received the list from
officials at home affairs, say that the list was intermittently
applied, although not officially. Among the major changes is that the
category of corporate general manager has been excised an
omission that has raised concern among business organisations.
Business has lobbied government for many years to open up the economy
to easier immigration of skilled people, which it believes will be
positive for economic growth, but mostly without success.

Job creation hampered by tourism visa rules and Eskom SA’s unemployment rate has climbed to its highest level since 2008

SA is not able to create jobs due to stringent tourism visa rules and unreliable electricity supply, a report following Cyril Ramaphosa’s job summit showed on Thursday, days after official data revealed that the unemployment rate had climbed to its highest level since 2008.
At the summit in 2018, Ramaphosa pledged to create 100,000 new jobs, a feat that looked impossible in an economy that has hardly grown over the last decade and with power utility Eskom struggling to shoulder a mountain of debt and keep the lights on.
www.sami.co.za

Are water shortages driving migration? Researchers dispel myths

STOCKHOLM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Water scarcity is one factor driving millions of people from their homes each year but is often not the only reason why they move, researchers told an international conference on Tuesday.
In most cases, other economic and social problems like conflict, corruption or a lack of jobs contribute to the decision to leave, they said.
They warned against over-simplifying the links between water and migration, and said many of those who do move – at least partly because of water-related pressures such as floods, droughts and pollution – may not travel far.
“International migration is very expensive and very risky and it lies beyond the reach of many of the poorest people who are most vulnerable to water security and drought,” said Guy Jobbins of the London-based Overseas Development Institute.
Those who suffer water-related shocks to their livelihoods – losing animals or crops – “are less likely to have the funds to start again in South Africa or France”, he told an audience at World Water Week in Stockholm.
Conversely, there was some evidence to suggest that people who have better access to secure, affordable water are more likely to have enough financial resources to migrate, he added.
Although much is made of international migration, most movement related to water is inside countries, often from one rural place to another, said Sasha Koo-Oshima, deputy director of land and water at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.
Three out of four of the world’s poor live in rural areas and rely heavily on agricultural production, with food insecurity, water contamination and drought forcing people from their homes – especially the young, she added.
Efforts should be stepped up to prevent water scarcity and make it profitable for young people to stay on rural land, she said.
But if people do leave, “it is not necessarily a negative phenomenon”, as humans have always moved in search of a better life, she added.
REFUGEE SCAPEGOATS
Researchers also called for a more sophisticated analysis of how mass migration impacts on water supplies.
In Jordan – the world’s second most water-scarce country, according to Hussam Hussein, a Middle East water researcher at Germany’s University of Kassel – a large influx of refugees from Syria, after civil war broke out there in 2011, led to tensions with their host communities, especially in cities.
Jordan hosts about 750,000 Syrians, the vast majority in urban areas, according to the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR). But contrary to public discourse, their presence is not the main cause of the country’s water shortages, said Hussein.
“When we look at the numbers, the impact of refugees is not as important as unsustainable use (of water) in the agricultural sector,” he said.
Mismanagement of water resources, leaks, illegal wells and intensive farming made up the majority of water losses in parched Jordan, he added.
In war-torn Syria, water scarcity and climate-related events such as drought had been a “trigger” for the conflict but not a primary cause, said Fatine Ezbakhe of the Mediterranean Youth for Water Network.
Instead a lack of water amplified political instability and poverty that fueled migration and unrest, she added.
Now improvements to water supplies could be used to persuade people to return home, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“If we actually invest in water, we could… try to make people go back and restart (in) the rural areas they left in the first place,” she said.
Reporting by Adela Suliman; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women’s and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking and property rights.
www.sami.co.za

New critical skills list for SA expected in 2020 Potential immigrants can use the ‘critical skills visa’ to seek legal status

The department of higher education has begun the lengthy process of compiling a new list of critical skills that will be used to determine whether a foreigner may apply for a visa to live and work in SA.
The “critical skills visa” is one of a few options that potential immigrants can use to seek legal status, and aims to ensure that only individuals whose skills are in short supply are able to settle in the country. The existing list, which was compiled and gazetted in 2014, includes a long list of occupations.
Earlier in 2019, a new draft list that was more restrictive came into circulation. Immigration lawyers, who received the list from officials at home affairs, say that the list was intermittently applied, although not officially. Among the major changes is that the category of corporate general manager has been excised — an omission that has raised concern among business organisations.
Business has lobbied government for many years to open up the economy to easier immigration of skilled people, which it believes will be positive for economic growth, but mostly without success.
Get our news and views in your inbox
That draft list is now in abeyance and a process is under way to compile a new list. The department of higher education says it is working closely with home affairs and other relevant government departments, such as the department of trade and industry and the department of employment and labour to compile a new report.
In response to questions, the department said on Tuesday that the draft list would emerge in about November and would be refined by March 2020.
“This year, the department of higher education and training will be producing the report on the critical skills. This report will form the basis upon which the critical skills list will be developed, gazetted and published by the department of home affairs. We anticipate that the report on the critical skills will be ready by the end of March next year,” spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said.
Samigration.com

Obstructionist home affairs officials bar entry of foreign investors

No matter how conducive new legislation is to immigration, its success will depend on how it is implemented
Recent news reports point to an ever-weakening economy, shocking unemployment levels and a worrying skills exodus. The taxpayer base is being eroded as the very South Africans qualified to build the economy leave the country in droves.
While SA loses skills, business capital and jobs as a result, other countries are gaining — partly thanks to their initiatives to offer “golden visas”, in which applicants must invest heavily in their destination country and are given residency or citizenship in return. These golden, or investor, visas, offered by more than 20 countries worldwide, require investments of R2m-R20m and are reported to have grossed more than €25bn in Europe alone during the past 10 years.
Applicants are often required to invest in property and some form of national development fund for a minimum period, bringing significant revenues into the destination country. In addition to their financial investment, new residents or citizens also bring with them spending power, skills, tax revenues and the probable creation of jobs in their new home country.
Severely challenged in its efforts to raise the necessary revenues to improve public service delivery, SA surprisingly not only does not tap into this potential pot of gold but it actively closes its borders to foreigners keen to bring investment, skills and business capability into the country.
SA appears to regard all foreigners with suspicion, making visa, residency and citizenship applications a complex nightmare that actively deters foreigners, despite the fact that many foreigners would like to invest and live in SA.
As an immigration specialist, we receives numerous inquiries from wealthy individuals looking to purchase property for leisure use, and from skilled individuals wanting to work or open businesses in SA. While it may seem surprising to South Africans who want to emigrate, many foreigners see SA’s weather, tourist facilities, game reserves and general quality of life as attractive drawcards.
It is simply easier to acquire a visa fraudulently than to endure the emotional strain of acquiring a visa lawfully, which could take years because in most instances administrative appeals are necessary
For each foreigner investing in a holiday home, wine farm or safari lodge and for every skilled entrepreneur setting up shop in SA, we see a multitude of jobs being created and much-needed tax revenue generated.
Yet SA persists in locking down its borders. The home affairs department’s processes are beset with delays. Its officials enforce internal policies over the laws of the country, and wrongful application refusals result in lengthy and expensive legal battles for applicants.
Compounding these challenges, the critical skills list looks set to omit designations such as corporate GMs and financial investment advisers, excluding foreign applicants highly skilled in the fields of business development and finance. Visas and permits are refused daily without any justifiable grounds. Applications for even the simplest visa are all too often resolved through litigation, and even then the department frequently does not comply with court orders.
It is simply easier to acquire a visa fraudulently than to endure the emotional strain of acquiring a visa lawfully, which could take years because in most instances administrative appeals are necessary. Unsurprisingly, a growing number of fraudulent visas appear to be in circulation.
Despite our president’s call to “open borders” and urging South Africans to look at foreigners coming to SA positively, the department of home affairs, which is responsible for regulating the entry of foreigners into SA, appears to be tightening immigration controls against skilled foreigners, foreign teachers, wealthy business people and retirees, refusing to issue visas to these individuals for reasons that extend far beyond the scope of the Immigration Act.
Encouraging interest
Our firm was co-founder of a multisectoral task team that recently made recommendations at a meeting with the acting director-general of home affairs and other officials on the question of scarce skills. Concern was voiced about the potential impact the Bill on International Migration and the critical skills list could have on efforts to grow the economy.
Our recommendations were well received, and it was encouraging that the acting director-general has encouraged public participation. However, several of our recommendations to boost foreign investment would require buy-in from other government departments. For instance, our recommendation on reducing the R5m foreign operating capital required to start a business would require a decision by the department of trade & industry, which has shown an encouraging interest and has expressed its wishes and intention to make SA great again.
However, no matter how receptive the acting director-general is to industry recommendations, and no matter how conducive the bill and scarce skills list is to immigration, the success of any new legislation — or efforts to attract foreign investment — will depend on how they are implemented in practice.
This is where the real challenge lies: home affairs officials are well known for their tendency to delay or summarily refuse applications, or make decisions not aligned with the letter and intent of the relevant laws.
These officials need to act with due respect for the law, their constitutional obligations, immigration jurisprudence and the rights of people and in the best interests of the country to attract foreign skills and investment and support the government’s economic growth objectives.
www.samigration.com

Aug 29, 2019 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Immigrant traders not welcome in the formal economy

Immigrant traders not welcome in the formal economy
Tax compliance and business registration is a lengthy, tedious affair
It is well established that there is all manner of undesirable
activity in the inner city of Johannesburg, undertaken by immigrants
and locals alike.
What is openly contestable is whether being an informal immigrant
trader is synonymous with being a “criminal”. In the heat of the
frenzied looting we saw last week in Soweto, that distinction was an
inconvenience that might have prevented people from expropriating
without compensation the soft drinks, flour and sweets they desired.
The fact that the authorities had labelled these products “fake”
didn’t seem to stop them.

Aug 24, 2019 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Scalabrini Centre hopeful CT Refugee Reception Office reopens soon

It`s been closed for seven years, further burdening asylum seekers. It was due to reopen in March 2018, but the Home Affairs Department missed the deadline.
The Department of Public Works said the centre would open in January 2020. Asylum seekers can only apply in Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and Musina.
The Department of Public Works said due to budget constraints and high costs it would lease a building in Bellville. It is expected to cost just over R21 million for a leasing period of over five years.
The Scalabrini Centre and the Legal Resources Centre took Home Affairs to court back in 2017. The Supreme Court of Appeal then ordered the department to open the office by March 2018.
The centre`s Miranda Madikane said she was pleased about the recent development.
“We’re very happy that the accommodation has been found.”
Madikane said without documentation, foreign nationals were unable to access basic services such as healthcare, education and employment. They also feared being arrested.
“When you’re living without documents in South Africa it’s extremely dangerous and it places massive pressure on people.”

Pages:123456»