International students could now graduate into permanent residence

2016-04-27 18:29

Critically skilled graduates now get PR

Permanent residence on the cards for foreign students

A radical statement by Malusi Gigaba related to international and foreign students who are pursuing degrees in South Africa could mean that they will qualify for permanent residence on completion of their studies.
The first of these initiatives ... is a special exemption to allow graduate international students in critical skills areas to qualify for permanent residence permits upon graduation.

Naturally, South Africa is short skilled, as is the rest of the world, and incentives such as these are far and few between in the Immigration Act of the country. This change, once implemented, should encourage students to apply for South African universities in fields such as engineering and IT, where afterwards those graduating will have a much better chance of obtaining employment within the local working environment. Simply looking at graduate jobs on Adzuna shows almost 5,000 vacancies.

More critically skilled people in SA

Minister Gigaba said:

"International students constitute a key segment which is prioritized by governments globally, because of the economic and social benefits they offer host countries in terms of adding to the skills base, and contributing positively to society more broadly.

The first of these initiatives, to be formally launched in the coming weeks, is a special exemption to allow graduate international students in critical skills areas to qualify for permanent residence permits upon graduation.

This measure is to ensure that South Africa benefits from all of the skills produced by its universities, and to make it easier for international students who want to work or start business in South Africa after graduation to do so."

For a full transcript of Minister Gigaba's speech, see here.

Implementation of student permanent residence

How they are going to implement this is unknown. Can one backdate to one's old studies performed many years ago? Can one apply for a critical skills work visa now without professional body registration? Will it count immediately for those already registered in degrees or for those who completed their degrees in December 2015, a mere four months ago?

We will wait and see, however this is a good step in the right direction for everyone and especially to bring much needed skills into South Africa. Download the critical skills work visa list here to see if you or someone you know qualifies.

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