Friday, August 25, 2006

Cabinet relaxes rules to draw foreign skills

By Tando Mfengwana

In a bid to ease the growth-constriction obstacle to importing foreign specialists, cabinet has approved a bill amending the rules governing immigration once more.

The Business Report quotes Themba Maseko, cabinet spokesperson as saying that the Immigration Amendment Bill will attempt to address concerns raised by business about issues related to work permits and transit visas.

The present regulation allows transferred executives into the country to stay for just two years, on permits that are not renewable, while the new draft will allow them to stay on board for five years. This is much more in line with keeping with world trends.

Immigration specialist who heads up the immigration working group of the South African Chamber of Business (Sacob), Julian Pockeroy, is quoted as saying that home affairs is missing an opportunity to rectify a series of variations in the law, by bringing the amendment forward too early.

The main problem started last year when the ministry failed to publish the quota of categories scheduled on the national critical skills list, which means that people seeking permanent residence were not allowed to do so under the quota system until the list was published this February.

Pockeroy said that he’s seen a number of changes being made and that they were warmly welcomed. The Business Report says that the draft makes rules clearer on what the subsidiary or a branch company is and what relations of the South African entity must be, but Sacob is objecting to the two weeks given to interested parties to comment on the new legislation.

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