Operation Vulindlela reports on reforms to South Africa’s visa system

Operation Vulindlela, a joint initiative of the Presidency and National Treasury, released a progress update with critical milestones and highlights achieved during the second quarter of 2023.

These milestones included the completion of the work visa review and visa reforms to support the growth of South Africa’s tourism industry.

Four key policy changes and process updates

Operation Vulindlela and the Department of Home Affairs are working together to reform South Africa’s visa regime. The changes that will be introduced include the following:

  • Streamlining document requirements for work visa applications to ease the burden on applicants
  • Introducing a trusted employer scheme that will ease the processing of work visa applications for qualifying employers
  • Creating new visa categories for remote workers and start-ups
  • Establishing a points-based system that will introduce greater flexibility and transparency into work visa application routes

“These measures relating to the current visa government system most importantly involve reducing the difficulty experienced by companies who seek to employ foreign nationals to not only fill the existing skills gap but to also take advantage of the skills transfer that would occur to South Africans if the relevant foreign nationals were permitted to work in South Africa,” says Flonique Asbury, Intergate Immigration Director.

The first step to adopting the reforms are approval by the Office of the State Law Advisor after which they can be published for public comment.

Visa reforms to support the growth of South Africa’s tourism industry

The South African Government launched South Africa’s eVisa in February 2022 for travellers from 14 countries. Today, the eVisa platform covers 34 countries.

In addition to opening the eVisa programme to more countries, the DHA has also introduced system and personnel updates to the eVisa platform and the eVisa Hub to enhance user experience and strengthen the eVisa offering.

Furthermore, the DHA has implemented an extensive visa waiver programme which covers 132 countries. This number will potentially increase as the DHA is in negotiations to extend visa waivers to 10 more countries.

Looking ahead

Operation Vulindlela will continue to work with the Department of Home Affairs to support the implementation of the visa regime changes. Operation Vulindlela will also monitor and assess the eVisa programme to ensure it achieves its goals.

Based on our experience, it could take the DHA some time to implement the visa changes. In the meantime, we advise you to continue to submit work visa applications if you’re eager to start working in South Africa.

If you need assistance with your application, please call us at +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or request a call back. One of our consultants will contact you to discuss your eligibility and the way forward.