In light of South Africa’s worsening unemployment and the perception that foreign nationals are distorting labour market access, the Draft National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) & Employment Services Amendment Bill aims to address South Africans’ expectations regarding access to work opportunities.
The NLMP, together with proposed legislation, will introduce 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, Construction etc.
Furthermore, the NLMP will be complemented by Small Business intervention and enforcement of a list of sectors where foreign nationals cannot be allocated business visas and amendments to the Small Business Act to limit foreign nationals establishing SMMEs and trading in some sectors of the economy.
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 interventions in those areas. The 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. The government will also impose various obligations on both the employer and the foreign national to transfer skills to locals and permits will be limited to specific durations.
South Africa will also implement these initiatives within the context of its regional integration and cooperation imperatives that have already been agreed to at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union levels.
The National Labour Migration Policy goes hand in hand with a proposed Employment Services Amendment Bill, which will provide a policy framework and the legal basis to regulate the extent to which employers can employ foreign nationals in their establishments while protecting the rights of migrants.
The proposed amendments to the Employment Services Act (of 2014) aim to limit the extent to which employers can employ the number of foreign nationals in possession of a valid work visa in their employment and codifies the obligations of an employer engaging foreign workers.
As such, the proposed Amendment Bill proposes a framework that will enable the Minister to set quotas for employment of foreign nationals. A quota may apply in respect of a sector of the economy, an occupational category or a geographical area.
The Minister will establish a quota in a sector after consultation with the Employment Services Board and after considering public comments. (Source: https://www.labour.gov.za/minister-nxesi-on-the-release-of-the-national-labour-migration-policy-for-public-comment)
The EOHCB (Employer’s Organisation for Hairdressing Cosmetology Beauty) is hosting a complimentary Zoom webinar on Monday, 13 June (10h00 – 11h30) to unpack the above changes and the likely impacts on workplaces, and to provide guidance and assistance in managing the changes and impact.
To RSVP to attend, click on the link below and follow the prompted instructions.