Doing Business

Streamlining South Africa’s Immigration: The Trusted Employer Scheme

South Africa is on the precipice of transforming its immigration landscape with the introduction of the Trusted Employer Scheme (TES). This initiative, echoing President Cyril Ramaphosa’s vision outlined in the 2022 State of the Nation Address, aims to untangle the complexities of visa applications, facilitating a smoother influx of foreigners into the country for tourism, business, and work.

The Trusted Employer Scheme: A Beacon of Change

South Africa’s reliance on foreign skills for economic growth and development is nothing new. However, the process of bringing in these essential skills has often been marred by red tape and unpredictability. Operation Vulindlela, a critical arm of the Presidential Project Management Office, recognized this issue and set the wheels of transformation in motion.

The Trusted Employer Scheme is set to be the linchpin of this transformation, designed to simplify immigration management and cater to the needs of high-skilled professionals, technical experts, corporate professionals, and investors.

TES: A Gateway to Efficient Immigration

Under the TES, companies and employers will bear the responsibility of demonstrating financial strength, participating in training programs for South African citizens, and maintaining the mantle of good corporate citizenship. In exchange, they will enjoy priority processing of visa applications, reducing the burden of documentation and enhancing the efficiency of the process.

Moreover, the TES membership’s reach extends to both local applications and South African High Commissions abroad, signifying a harmonized approach to immigration management.

Criteria for Selection: Transparency and Fairness

To ensure that the selection process is transparent and equitable, the Department of Home Affairs has instituted a well-thought-out scorecard system. This system evaluates companies on five distinct factors, each contributing a specified number of points. The more points a company accrues, the greater its chances of becoming a Trusted Employer.

These factors include financial commitments and investments, employment of South African citizens, operating within priority sectors, active skills transfer and development programs, and alignment with Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) principles.

TES: A Methodical Selection Process

Corporate companies operating within South Africa are invited to submit expressions of interest using a predefined TES Application Form. Applications are then assessed by an Inter-Departmental Committee, ensuring a multidimensional evaluation process.

The Committee includes representatives from various departments, spanning the Department of Home Affairs, the Departments of Employment and Labour, and the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition. The final selection is in the capable hands of the Department, with decisions from the Committee being definitive.

The Trusted Employer Scheme is poised to bring a wave of transformation to South Africa’s immigration landscape. By streamlining processes, promoting compliance, and heralding efficiency, it is setting the stage for a more accessible South Africa. In doing so, it is not just attracting skills; it is welcoming change and prosperity, unlocking the nation’s potential and propelling it into a promising future.