southafricalogoBL Premium reports that after a two-year delay, the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) on Thursday published a draft of the "critical skills list" — occupations earmarked for skilled immigration — identifying 126 narrowly defined jobs for eligibility.

The promise that the list would be published last week was made in the state of the nation speech by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who said he was aware it was long overdue but would finally be done. In terms of the list, people with a critical skill — which must be an "exceptional skill" — can apply for a visa to SA under the Immigration Act. The red tape associated with skilled immigration has been a burning concern for business for two decades, which regards it as both a hindrance to doing business and a brake on economic growth. However, the new draft list is notable in its restrictive approach and does not depart from earlier policy approaches, which have lent towards making skilled immigration difficult. The list, which is available on the DHA website, has been published for comment. A technical document accompanying it states that it will be further whittled down and refined by the DHA. The criteria for inclusion in the list are: an acute shortage; a high level or advanced qualification; would take a long time to develop domestically; and can be of strategic importance. Included are a range of high-skill jobs in IT, engineering, geology, nursing, pharmacy and accounting as well as a range where softer skills are required, such as marketing, communications, advertising and web design. Technical jobs on the list include carpenter, joiner, diesel mechanic, transport electrician and lift engineer.

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