Impact on employers of ZEP holders
The battle to retain already trained and effective staff remains a priority for most employers and the announcement by DHA will no doubt create anxiety for any employer of individuals on the existing ZEP dispensation. Any prudent business owner understands the benefit of retaining quality staff as well as the frustration, time and money it takes to recruit new staff.
We have seen active moves by employers to start the process to retain their Zimbabwe employees. With the various Department of Labour audits now happening, employers have effectively one of two choices – start to immediately address the retention of ZEP staff with or have a contingency plan in place for these resources which will soon become unemployable.
Visa options available
During a recent interview on Radio 702, Marisa Jacobs, Managing Director at Xpatweb, SA’s largest independent immigration practice, explained the various visa options available in terms of the Immigration Act that ZEP holders could explore. This includes:
- Spousal / Life Partner Visa with Work Authorisation (if married or in a permanent relationship with a South African Citizen / Permanent Resident, subject to conditions).
- Relative’s Visa (if related to a South African Citizen / Permanent Resident who is either a spouse, parent or child).
- Critical Skills Work Visa (if holder of critical skills as set out in the Gazetted Critical Skills List issued by DHA).
- General Work Visa (if offered South African employment and approved by Department of Labour, subject to assessment).
- Study Visa (if enrolled /accepted to take up studies at a registered educational institute in South Africa).
- Business Visa (where you have your own business and meet the investment and labour requirements).
- Retired Person Visa (where the applicant has income exceeding R37,500 per month from a pension, irrevocable annuity, or other income source).
After applying for a mainstream category, eventually a Permanent Residence Permit can be secured.
With the countdown until 30 June 2022 underway, employers are encouraged to support their ZEP holder staff by submitting their application as soon as possible heading the call by the Minister.
The process to apply for any of the above visa categories can be administratively burdensome and costly where you get it wrong. This is where proper planning and experience of the visa process, along with a solid relationship with DHA is worth its weight in gold, as it will greatly improve the probability of a successful application.