Critical skills visas open mental and physical borders [Opinion]

Many years before Ventureburn, I worked for an e-learning startup. I started as a writer with a background in education and by the time I left, my startup journey blessed me with many more critical skills I never came across in my years at university. 

Critical skills visas attract highly skilled foreigners to SA

The experience changed me in important ways. I met incredible people from all over the continent who helped me learn to code, to think more creatively and laterally, to be a more focused learner and how to identify and grab everyday skills learning opportunities.

Opening minds and countries

I am grateful for my career journey within the SA tech ecosystem so far, which has allowed me to collaborate with many African creators living here on critical skills visas. To learn more, I contacted Andreas Krensel, Cape Town Partner at IBN Immigration, who helped me understand the relevance of this legislation to accelerating SA’s tech economy.

The legislation surrounding the critical skills visa was passed in 2014 to attract highly skilled foreigners to SA. The visa can be issued for up to five years and as Krensel explained, “The critical skills visa offers a few advantages to foreigners other work visas do not offer. There is no need for an advertisement and local labour market research as needed for a general work visa. There is also no need for a local understudy or for an international transfer as needed for the Intra-Company Transfer work visa.”

Other advantages include a faster route to permanent residence in SA and the welcoming feeling of safety this brings. “SA benefits by attracting highly educated and highly skilled individuals. This is not just of paramount importance for local employers, but research shows that each highly skilled foreigner creates, often indirectly, up to three local positions. In some sectors such as IT and e-commerce, there is not enough local talent available. This also applies to other sectors, but these two stand out,” Krensel commented.

While information is widely available on the SA DOHA website, many foreigners are put off by the process. Krensel recommended finding help if the process is stopping you from starting up.

“We have assisted hundreds of critical skills visa applicants successfully and know what works and what does not work. In addition, quite a few of our staff members have gone through their own immigration experiences and therefore truly understand our clients’ needs,” he said about IBN

ICT is still in great demand on the critical skills list. Krensel also listed engineering, project management and nursing as fast-growing sectors in SA lacking the required skills. To close off, I was happy that Krensel mentioned my first love – education. “SA currently has a great need for nurses and teachers, especially teaching language skills in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector,” he concluded.

Read more: SA CX platform inQuba first to launch integrated Whatsapp chat
Read more: Top startup web events in SA this week [19/07/2021]

Featured image: IBN Immigration Solutions Partner (Cape Town), Andreas Krensel (Supplied)

Lauren Daniels, Editor


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