Mavuso says visa reform is good and well, but govt capacity may negate the positives

Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso

Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso

8th April 2024

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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While it is positive that regulations for digital nomad visas are in place, Business Leadership South Africa CEO Busi Mavuso says it will take resources and leadership to deliver those services that should theoretically be available.

The South African government earlier this week promulgated amendments to the country’s immigration laws that allow foreigners earning more than R1-million a year to take out a digital nomad visa.

The amendments include the introduction of a new point-based system for work visas, which replaces the critical skills list.

The criteria for the points system are due to be published by the end of April.

Other changes include easing the requirement for police clearance certificates and other documents.

Mavuso comments in her latest weekly newsletter on April 8 that the implementation of the new visa regulations will fundamentally alter the way work visas are provided in South Africa, which is a positive stride for policy reform.

She previously wrote about how cumbersome the visa system makes it for businesses to bring in international skills, which, in turn, affects investment decisions.

In May last year, government vowed to, through Operational Vulindlela, improve the visa regime, in recognition of how skilled foreigners enable domestic employment, increase taxes and grow the economy.

“[However,] the regulations themselves do not mean they will be effective in actually making it easier for skilled foreigners to work in South Africa,” Mavuso explains, citing business leaders who regularly struggle to get the Department of Home Affairs to process applications, or who have applications denied with no explanation.

Mavuso is sceptical about the department’s capacity to do its job effectively, despite regulatory reform being in place.

She says government needs a plan on how it will resolve the massive backlog in existing visa applications, as well as a change management programme to ensure that bureaucracy becomes fit-for-purpose in functioning under the new regulations.

“Policy can be key in clearing the way for government to be effective, but it is not enough. We need to ensure the gap between policy and effectiveness is closed,” Mavuso emphasises.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online




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