The South African government has released a White Paper that provides a policy framework that will significantly overhaul and review the country’s existing immigration system.

Planned changes are expected to take place within the next two years.   These will include:

  • A points based system – The White Paper proposed the work permit system to be points based, combined with a critical skills list or quotas. The scoring criteria will be based on various factors, including work experience, business sector and qualifications of workers;
  • Permanent residency will be replaced with long term resident visas – long term resident visas are to be fast tracked for foreign nationals with in-demand skills, business or investment funds; 
  • Introduction of student residence visas – International students can be granted resident permits upon graduation to encourage them to stay and therefore contribute to the economy; and
  • Visa free travel for African nationals – This visa free regime is to allow African nationals to visit South Africa for up to 90 days. This visa free travel will be conditional on return agreements and security and information sharing agreements are in place.