The Immigration Act of 2002 introduced “Coporate Permits” as a new way of easing the facilitation of insufficient and scarce skills into South Africa.
This type of permit is very popular with call centres like Lufthansa, Swiss, Amazon and there has also been set up a “large account unit” for assistance within Home Affair’s head office in Pretoria and is proving to be competent and helpful.
A Corporate Permit can be very attractive for the hospitality industry as staff turnover is often higher than in other sectors and foreign skills are regularly needed to complement local staff, particularly during high season.
Effectively, a company needs to apply for a Corporate Permit based on a business plan, that includes a defined staff structure outlining South Africans as well as foreigners’ positions within the operation. This need to be in reasonable proportion because training and thereby transfer of skills is important. Each position the employer wishes to fulfil with a foreigner needs a specific job description and motivation.
For example, a hotel could apply for 1 General Manager, 1 Personal Assistant, 2 Front of House, 2 Reservation, 1 Head Chef, 1 Souse Chef, 1 Sommelier, 3 Waiters.
Home Affairs will then issue a Corporate Permit in the name of the applicable company, typically valid for 5 years. These permits, called “Corporate Worker’s Certificates”, are issued and can be used like “tickets” to employ individual applicants. If a staff member resigns, the position can be filled by the next candidate. Many of the normal requirements for a General Work permit are waived, such as SAQA, advertising, benchmarking, etc. – a much easier and simplified process. Typically a company should receive a Corporate Permit within 30 days like any other temporary residence permit. However, due to the complexity of the initial application, this may take longer.
There have been some abuse issues in the past especially by labour brokers who saw a gap in the market. Home Affairs is currently studying the Corporate Permit system and may enforce changes to the Immigration Amendment Act expected in 2011.