Virginia, US

Does your company require key foreign national employees in South Africa because they have a special skill set obtained with the company abroad that is not available in the Republic such as a managerial role or proprietary knowledge of company processes and procedures? If yes, then your company may be eligible to temporarily second that employee to South Africa for up to four (4) years under the Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Work Visa immigration category.

Eligibility Criteria for Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Work Visa 

A foreign national employee may apply for a temporary ICT work visa if he or she has been employed by a company overseas for at least six months and is being transferred to work at a subsidiary, branch or affiliate of that company in the Republic. A new key requirement of this secondment is that the foreign employee must have the intention of transferring his or her skills to a South African citizen or permanent resident. While there are other key eligibility requirements that also need to be met by the foreign employee, the upskilling of his or her local colleagues in the Republic will be mandatory.

Based on changes to the Immigration Regulations implemented on 26 May 2014, a critical element of this visa category is the transference of skills from the foreign national to the local labour force.  This knowledge transfer needs to be documented, followed and have specific South African employees identified as recipients of the knowledge and/or skills. Unless the company can prove using a skills transfer plan that the expertise needed for the specific role the foreign employee is intended to fill will be transferred to a South African employee, the visa will not be granted.

At the heart of South African immigration policy

South Africa is not alone in this endeavour. Like other Sub-Saharan African countries such as Gabon, Kenya, Angola, and Nigeria, at the heart of South African immigration policy is the need to protect and upgrade the skills of the local work force. While there is little enforcement now in South Africa, the government has made a conscious decision to attract highly skilled global workers by forcing multinational companies to upskill South African workers. Future enforcement is likely.

With continued high unemployment and the socioeconomic obligation to focus on training, there is no cost to the government or to the country by requiring multinational companies to upskill South African workers. If the plans are followed and documented for the local workers, the benefits to the multinational company and the Republic are higher skilled, better-trained employees that can contribute to the economy and provide greater employment opportunities for others.  

Learn more about our practice in Africa, or reach us at africainfo@fragomen.com.