South Africa will consider the adoption of remote-working and start-up visas as part of a push to attract more skilled workers.
In his state of the nation address on Thursday evening (10 February), president Cyril Ramaphosa said that the government was also introducing other visa reforms to make it easier for people to enter the country.
“The world over, the ability to attract skilled immigrants is the hallmark of a modern, thriving economy. We are therefore streamlining and modernising the visa application process to make it easier to travel to South Africa for tourism, business and work,” he said.
“A comprehensive review of the work visa system is currently underway, led by a former Director-General of Home Affairs, Mr Mavuso Msimang. This review is exploring the possibility of new visa categories that could enable economic growth, such as a start-up visa and a remote working visa.”
Ramaphosa said that the government has also published a revised critical skills list for the first time since 2014, following detailed technical work and extensive consultations with business and labour.
The updated list reflects the skills that are in shortage today, to ensure that the country’s immigration policy matches the demands of our economy. The president also confirmed that South Africa’s eVisa system is now operational and has been launched in 14 countries, including China, India, Kenya and Nigeria.
The Western Cape provincial government has previously mooted a Remote-Work visa as a way of attracting skilled and wealthy tourists to the country.
The visa would specifically be aimed at attracting ‘digital nomads’ – people who will live in and work remotely from cities such as Cape Town.
Visas for digital nomads are travel permits that legalise the status of travelling professionals. Like tourist visas, they are easy to obtain and do not require long paperwork and a work contract. However, they allow for longer stays.
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