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South Africa tightens immigration laws in order to restrict foreigners from working in South Africa

As South Africa tightens its immigration laws, Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa has signed off on the approval of the revised critical skills work visa.

South Africa has reserved a few jobs for its nationals to address rising unemployment. This will result in millions of foreigners being unemployed.

Some jobs, such as waitressing, small business management, shopkeeping, and the beauty and health industry that was mainly occupied by foreigners, must now be available only to South African citizens.

The roll of 101 critical skill jobs has been updated to the beginning of February 2022. It was the first update since 2014.

In his State of the Nation address Thursday night, Mr. Ramaphosa stated that he was streamlining and modernizing the visa application procedure to make it easier for tourists, businessmen, and workers to travel to South Africa.

“The revised Critical Skills List has been published for the first time since 2014, following detailed technical work and extensive consultations on business and labor.”

Immigrant laws that are strict and enforceable have been introduced in Zimbabwe, with Zimbabweans being the hardest hit.

Zimbabwean nationals were denied exemption permits and are now required to leave South Africa by the end of 2022.

Ramaphosa stated that the updated list “reflects the skills in short supply today to ensure that our migration policy meets the demands of the economy.”

A comprehensive review of the system of work visas is being conducted currently by Mr. Mavuso Mavuso, a former Director-General of Home Affairs. This review will examine the possibility of creating new visa categories to support economic growth such as a remote working visa or a start-up visa.

South Africa is home to three million foreign nationals, who are working without proper documentation. This has angered the local population who feel that they are being forced out of the labor market.

According to the most recent statistics, South Africa’s unemployment rate reached a record 34.9 percent in November 2021.

Youths who are jobless or disillusioned feel that the government is turning its back on them. This is what led to the loss of votes by the African National Congress in the 2016 and 2021 local elections.

“If there is one thing we all agree on, it is that the present situation – of deep poverty, unemployment, and inequality – is unacceptable and unsustainable,” Mr. Ramaphosa said.

“Covid-19 has exacerbated the divide between those who are employed and unemployed. Last year, our unemployment rate reached its highest recorded level. Unemployment has been caused by low growth, which has, in turn, resulted from a long-term decline in investment.”

The President, however, has remained silent about the ongoing xenophobic attacks against foreign nationals.

Local groups have stormed workplaces to demand work visas for foreigners.

Ordinary South Africans are also evicting illegal immigrants from their rented properties.