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South Africa Scraps Critical Skills’ Permits

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By Anna Chibamu and Thandiwe Garusa


ZIMBABWEAN and other foreign students who studied at South African universities and colleges under critical skills areas will no longer have the automatic permanent residency privilege, Home Affairs minister, Aaron Motsoaledi has said.

In the past, upon graduation, students could get permanent residency on the basis they were studying a critical skill.

However, South African Home Affairs ministry, through the immigration directive Number 2 of 2022, is withdrawing the blanket waiver dated April 21, 2016 in respect of graduates from South African tertiary institutions in critical skills.

“By virtue of the power vested in me by section 31 (2) of the Immigration Act, 2002, Act No 13 of 2002 (“The Act”), I hereby withdraw the blanket waiver which was granted  on 21 April 2016, which waiver allowed foreign  graduates at South African tertiary institution that studied  towards degrees in the area of critical skills, to apply for a permanent residence permit without the need of first acquiring five years post qualification experience or the need to submit testimonials from employees,” the directive reads.

“The new applications for a permanent residence permit submitted must comply with the requirements provided for in regulations 24(4xa) (i0, 24 (4) (b) and 24(4) (c) of the immigration regulations made under section 7 of the act.”

“The contents of this immigration directive must be brought to the attention of all officials in the permitting environment and be published on the VFS and department websites,” it further reads.

Recently South Africa effectively ended a decade-long moratorium that allowed around 200 000 Zimbabweans to live and work in the country through issuing permits that were renewable after every four years.