Zimbabwean Exemption Permits (ZEP)

In November 2021, Cabinet decided not to renew the Zimbabwean Special Dispensation Permits (ZSPs), which was set to end on the 31st of December 2021.

The former Minister of Home Affairs announced that the permit holders would have to apply for renewal at the South African Embassy, which could take months and at the same time run a risk of losing their jobs as the renewal process could take months before they could return to South Africa.

When the December 31, 2021, grace period was announced, the minister advised permit holders should apply for “other permits appropriate to their particular status or situation” in that period.  Those who are unsuccessful at the expiry of the grace period, will have to leave South Africa, or be deported.

Critical skills visa
Many Zimbabweans have started applying for the Critical Skills Visa through the VFS Visa Application Centre.

The applicant of the critical skills visa must have the critical skills categorised before applying for a visa or permit, follow the VFS procedure and be issued with a compliance letter confirming whether the applicant has been accepted for a critical skills visa/permit. It should take 30-40 working days. This visa is valid for a period of 5 years and is an open-ended visa.

Without a specialisation as indicated on the critical skills list, the foreign national may not be eligible for a critical skills visa.

New Rules planned
The Department of Employment and Labour is concerned around illegal recruitment practices in South Africa and to address these issues, has developed a new National Labour Migration Policy, which should be submitted to Parliament in mid-2022.

It focuses on:
- Quotas. The Policy will introduce maximum quotas on the total number of documented foreign nationals with work visas that can be employed in major economic sectors, such as Agriculture, Hospitality and Tourism, etc.

- Undesirable sectors. The Policy will be complemented by small business intervention and the enforcement of a list of sectors where foreign nationals cannot be allocated business visas. The Small Business Act may be amended to limit foreign nationals establishing SMME and trading in some sectors.

- Immigration changes. The Department of Home Affairs is currently reviewing the Immigration Act, the Citizenship Act and the Refugees Act to ensure alignment with the policy

- Critical Skills List. The Department of Higher Education and Training has released a list of scarce and critical skills in high demand to provide guidance to all institutions to prioritise education and training. This list will be used as a last resort, to allow foreign nationals in possession of the listed skills that the economy requires, and where job offers have been made, to be allocated work visas.

- Skills transfer: Government may impose obligations on both employers and foreign nationals to transfer skills to locals, and permits will be limited to specific durations.

1. Why are Zimbabweans switching from the DZP visa to the Critical Skills Visa?
- The critical skills visa is renewable and needs no approval from Government before applying for it. Those with Critical Skills Visas have the right to remain in the country.
- This visa allows them to seek employment for a period of 12-months in South Africa
- Permanent residency can be applied for simultaneously with the critical skills visa if they can prove more than 5 years of experience in their profession.

2. How do I qualify for the critical skills visa?
2.1 Your cccupation must be listed on the critical skills list
2.2 Register with a professional governing body specific to your occupation
2.3 Your qualifications are assessed and accepted by SAQA

3. My occupation is not listed on the critical skills list. What now?
If your occupation is not listed, then your best option would be to apply for the General Work Visa.

4. What is a Zimbabwean exemption permit?
The Government extended the ZEP to 31 December 2022. It will essentially allow Zimbabweans a further 12-months to obtain other vias to legally remain in SA

5. How do I get a ZEP permit?

6. When can a permanent resident apply for citizenship?
5 years

7. How long does critical skills permit take?
4-6 weeks, or sometimes longer.

8. What is critical work permit?
A permit designed to attract highly skilled people in the labour market with the aim of encouraging them to take up permanent residency.

9. What is a critical skills occupations list?
The critical skills occupations list is organised using Standard Occupational Classification System . The system classifies workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data.

Roxanne Fielies

Mark - 13:49 @ common, Industrial Relations, Human Resources, B-BBEE | Add a comment

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