Kaya 959 Reporter
There is a critical skills shortage in South Africa, which is largely based on the global trend of skills migration resulting in numerous positions becoming vacant in South Africa.
The Department of Home Affairs (“DHA”) recently announced that it will be opening its doors to permanent residence permit (“PRP”) applications from January 2022
With this said, making the process easier for skilled foreign migrant is very crucial.
In South Africa permanent residency can only be obtained through a formal, and sometimes complicated, application process, which could take anything from 6 to 12 months before being approved.
Applicants are vetted and processed impartially to determine whether they will contribute to the South African economy.
To unpack the process, Kaya Biz with Gugulethu Mfuphi was joined by Moeketsi Seboko, who is an Immigration Manager at Xpat Web.
He gave information about what is required to apply for permanent residency in South Africa.
“The process should be fairly quicker, considering what the government is trying to achieve, if you want to access skill, you need to make sure you make things easier for foreign nationals that wish to remain in SA. However with the experience at the department of Home Affairs, it’s taking forever.”
“The process once you submit an application can take anything between 6 month, 2 – 3 year, with COVID it has taken forever, Home Affair was for 2 years not processing applications. The is a huge backlog concerning delays, and we hope Home Affair will address it. We’re hoping that its shouldn’t take more than 3 months to get your permanent residency.”
If you apply for a permanent residence permit, you effectively declare that you intend to reside in South Africa permanently, which will place you under the “ordinarily resident”. If you are considered tax resident, you are liable for tax on your worldwide income, whereas non-residents are only subject to tax on South African sourced income.
“Once you are a permanent resident in South Africa you enjoy all the rights and obligation of a permanent citizen. You will be considered as a South African for the purpose of taxes as well.” says Seboko
When do you qualify for permanent residency?
You must have lived in South Africa as a worker with five years of continuous work permits before applying for a permanent residence permit. There are also certain criteria the Department of Home Affairs looks at that make you application favorable. Foreign national who fall in this category:
- Have critical skills or qualifications that are in short supply in South Africa
- Want to open their own business or invest in an existing business in the country
- Wish to retire and can prove that they are able to sustain themselves
- Obtained a permanent job offer in South Africa
- Is financially independent and does not need to work for a living