New corporate visa service at Home Affairs

2015-05-26 05:25

Corporate visas can help companies employing many foreigners at once.

South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs has once again made a positive move to attempt to better the services rendered to those foreign nationals it deems will improve the country’s economy and the people’s well-being in general. Often, those who have obtained employment contracts to work for a South African company, experience extremely long waiting times, mainly due to the backlog created by scores of refugees and asylum seekers who, according to MP Malusi Gigaba clog up the Home Affairs systems. Not only do the employees wait so long, but it is the companies themselves who are forced to stand in line while the critical skills they require are not in place to improve their SA businesses.

To this end, Home Affairs has opened up both a partnership with the relevant corporate and investment bodies and an office specifically aimed at fast-tracking client-facing services to companies, most notably those who currently hold Corporate Visas. Below are the newly gazetted selection criteria and information on how companies can apply to be included in the speedier processing of visas for new foreign staff.

Immigration Act (13/2002): Corporate Accounts Unit: Department of Home Affairs: Immigration Services

Background

The Department of Home Affairs through the Directorate: Corporate Accounts has established a partnership with the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), the Gauteng Investment Centre (GIC) and VFS Global which renders Visa Facilitation Services (VFS). The purpose of this partnership is to establish a premium One-Stop-Shop for visa and permit renewals and a put in place a shorter, more efficient process for visa applications of foreign nationals employed by corporate companies. The service will also include Immigration Advisory services to applicants and further manage stakeholder relations. This initiative will help to alleviate the pressure of visa application management for senior executives of companies who are holders of temporary residence visas as well as other foreign employees within these corporates. The Department of Home Affairs invites corporate companies and businesses recognised and affiliated to the various chambers of commerce to apply for membership for the Corporate Account status with the Department. This membership will be at no cost to the qualifying corporates.

Selection Criteria

In order to ensure that the selection process of companies is fair, ethical and transparent, the Department of Home Affairs will make use of the following score card system:

  1. The number of visas required in key positions – this will be counted in man-years over the coming three years – Twenty points.

    2. Magnitudes of the incremental Capex spend over the coming three years – Twenty points.

    3. National priority/relevance of the visa requested to the development of national infrastructure – Twenty points.

    4. Critical skills component – percentage of visas contained in the notice contemplated in section 19(4) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) – Twenty points.

    5. Transfer of skills – related efforts by the relevant corporate applicant to transfer imported skills to locals – Twenty points.

    6. Proof that at least 60% of the total staff complement employed, in the operations of the business are South Africans or permanent residents employed permanently in various positions- Twenty points

Selection Process

1. Corporate companies within South Africa interested to be considered for registration with the Corporate Account Unit in collaboration with GGDA are required to submit applications to the secretary of the Director: Corporate Account, Mrs Nomvuzo Vilakazi by email nomvuzo.vilakazi@dha.gov.za.

2. The cut-off date for submission of applications is ten working days after the date of publication of this notice.

3. Applications must be submitted in writing and should not exceed 2 A4 pages in length.

4. Applications must be signed by the corporate applicants (companies) or their Human Resource Directors.

5. Applications must contain all information specified in the Selection Criteria set out above.

6. The scored results will be validated by a selected Advisory Committee composing of various Government Departments.

7. The Department of Home Affairs will make the final selection and the applicants will be advised of the outcome.

8. The decision of the Advisory Committee is final and the Department reserves the right to grant or not to grant a Corporate Account status to any company.

What this now means for companies wanting to employ foreigners on an ongoing basis, is that they can apply for enhanced service from the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). This in turn will benefit the DHA in that they are separating the more important immigration applications (those bringing in critical skills are assumed to be a higher priority) from those which are clogging up the system, such as refugee and asylum seeker visas.

We’ve seen huge improvements in service delivery from the DHA to SA citizens – passports renewed in under 2 weeks and ID cards ready in a few days. This new move is a start on the road to bettering the situation for non-citizens, which we hope will soon be at the same level. Getting the right skills into South Afric ais key for our nation to perform well on a global level and for the growth of our economy.

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