Faster permits for skilled workers
The Department of Home Affairs is to improve its ability to process applications for work permits for highly skilled foreign applicants in the next few months.
Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin said the move formed part of his department's efforts to improve its services and to get foreign skills in to the country. The department is currently involved in actively promoting South Africa as a hub for chemical, materials, civil, structural, and mining and quality engineers from abroad.
Addressing an economic, investment and employment cluster briefing last week, Erwin said that there had been marked improvement in processing work permits for highly skilled applicants.
"The cluster has made progress on key areas in skills, the fact that the country is experiencing a tight skills availability environment re-emphasises the need not only to develop skills locally but to attract foreign skills, including the fast-tracking of high skills immigration," he said.
Erwin said in terms of the cluster's work on skills and education for the economy, the cluster sought to ensure that the skills requirements that were vital to the rollout of industrial policy were submitted to all sector education and training authorities (Setas).
This would is to be built into Seta service level agreements for 2009-2010.
"The broader Seta review recommendations are being discussed at Nedlac (the National Economic Development and Labour Council) and a draft proposed Seta re-establishment process has been completed by the National Skills Authority for discussion with stakeholders."
The Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (Jipsa) had also been successfully embedded in the drive for skills development critical to achieving accelerated and shared growth, Erwin said.
Jipsa was born out of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa (Asgi-SA) that aims to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014 through accelerated shared gross domestic product growth, rising to 6% in 2010.