SOUTH AFRICA: Procedural Changes for Qualification Evaluation and Transfer of Skills
Effective 16 September 2019, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) will allow only qualification holders (applicants) to follow up on their own evaluation applications. SAQA will no longer allow third parties (such as immigration agencies, attorneys or family members) to follow up.
Third parties will, however, still be able to assist with compiling the application, translating non-English documents, submitting the application online (with the applicant’s own email address), having the application delivered at the SAQA office and collecting the issued SAQA certificate.
Proof of Transfer of Skills
It has been observed that a number of South African missions have begun to request proof that skills have been transferred by an Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) visa holder to a nominated South African understudy, especially. No official announcement of this change has been issued.
When applying for an ICT visa for South Africa, one of the required documents to be submitted is the transfer of skills plan, in which the skills which will be transferred from the ICT visa holder to a named local understudy must be described in detail.
While proof of transfer of skills is required when applying for a subsequent ICT visa, this is not normally required for applicants who wish to change status to a Critical Skills visa or a General Work visa, or apply for a waiver of the Department of Labour recommendation.
The law does not require the employer or the ICT visa holder to report on the progress of the skills transfer to the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) or any other department. While most corporates ensure that skills are transferred, it is not clear which records must be kept, if and to whom reporting must be done, or what happens when the local understudy changes employers.
In one case, a South African mission in Central Europe issued a first ICT visa with the request that the employer’s HR department sends a progress report on the transfer of skills to the mission every six months (although this request was not made a condition of the visa approval). In another case, an applicant for a Critical Skills visa (CSV), who had previously held an ICT visa, was asked to provide proof that the promised transfer of skills had taken place. In a third case, whilst applying for a General Work visa, the applicant was asked to provide a copy of the actual transfer of skills plan which was submitted with the previous ICT application.
Employers are advised to record evidence of training sessions conducted by ICT visa holders, which should be signed by the understudy and the ICT visa holder. A regular report on the transfer of skills should be compiled (preferably quarterly). These documents should be maintained in the ICT visa holder’s HR file, as well as in that of the understudy. Employers who may be affected by any of these changes are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.