What is the change? South Africa has opened registration for companies who wish to use a new one-stop premium visa service center for faster visa and work permit renewals.

What does the change mean? Companies must apply in writing and undergo a selection process by the Department of Home Affairs based on a points system. 

  • Implementation time frame: Applications will be accepted beginning May 12. The cut-off date for submission of applications is 10 working days after May 12.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work visas and permit renewals.
  • Who is affected: Companiesemploying a large number of foreign workers.
  • Impact on processing times: The premium service aims to put in place a shorter, more efficient process for visa and permit renewals.
  • Business impact: Approved companies will benefit from streamlined visa renewal and other premium service, including access to immigration advisory services.
  • Next steps: Given the short application window, companies who wish to be considered for corporate account status should apply immediately. BAL can assist in the application process.

Background: The one-stop center will serve select corporate applicants who have been approved for Corporate Account status. Applications for this status must be made in writing within 10 working days of the Gazette notice of May 12. An advisory committee will select companies by awarding points based on the following criteria:

  1. Numbers of visas required in key positions over the coming three years, calculated in man-years (hours worked by an individual per year) (20 points).
  2. Amount of incremental capital expenditures over next three years (20 points).
  3. Relevance of requested visas to South Africa’s national development and infrastructure (20 points).
  4. Percentage of visas that are for critical skills (20 points).
  5. Efforts by the company to transfer skills to South African workers (20 points).
  6. Proof that at least 60 percent of the company’s local workforce are South Africans or permanent residents employed in permanent positions (20 points).

Companies that wish to apply for Corporate Account status must address all of the selection criteria in their application, which should not exceed two pages and must be signed by the corporate applicant or human resources director. Applications must be submitted via email to the corporate accounts unit indicated in the announcement. The Department of Home Affairs will make the final selection and will advise applicants on the outcome.

BAL Analysis: The one-stop-shop premium service should facilitate visa applications for select companies with high volume of work visa applications.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in South Africa. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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