• Posted by: Evans Asare
South Africa plans to offer ‘digital nomad’ visas

South Africa plans to offer ‘digital nomad’ visas.

South Africa’s department of home affairs has published amendments to legislation regarding critical skills and so-called “digital nomad” visas in an effort to attract highly skilled individuals into the country.

The vision:

“To succeed in an ever-changing global economy, our country needs far more people with the right skills. This is so that our economy can be competitive, grow, and create employment,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his regularly scheduled weekly newsletter on Monday.

“A remote worker who wants to work in South Africa for a foreign company will be able to obtain such a visa.”

If the legislation comes to pass, South Africa will join Namibia, Cape Verde, Mauritius, and the Seychelles as the fifth country in Africa to offer digital nomad visas. Highly skilled workers in the IT sector, such as programmers and software architects, are typically the target of such visas.

For the critical skills visa, the draft regulations propose a points system that takes into account the applicant’s age, qualifications, language skills, work experience, and whether they have an offer of employment with a local company or not. This practice is similar to other jurisdictions worldwide. High-earning workers in the IT sector are a particular target.

“The introduction of a remote working visa responds to the rapidly evolving world of work. Increasing numbers of skilled workers, notably in the tech industry, are attracted by the lifestyle benefits of working from a remote location,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa.

As a popular tourist destination, South Africa has the potential to attract a large number of remote workers and those with critical skills.

Over and above the benefits they bring to the professional landscape, these individuals will help stimulate the economy by spending what they earn abroad with local businesses.

“Normally, someone who qualifies for this visa is a high-income earner. They will stay in a hotel or rent a big house and spend their money in the local economy,” said Richard Firth, chairman and CEO of software engineering firm MIP Holdings.

Ramaphosa advises companies looking to import skills that are on the critical skills list to look to the Trusted Employer Scheme published by the Department of Home Affairs in October 2023. Under this programme, companies can apply for trusted employer status, which would help streamline the visa process for incoming employees.

Author: Evans Asare

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