'SA must be welcoming'

THE government is considering issuing a five-year work permit for foreigners working in South Africa.

THE government is considering issuing a five-year work permit for foreigners working in South Africa.

Briefing the media at Parliament yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said her department was now reviewing the work permit system.

It currently allows foreigners with scarce skills to remain in South Africa for a year before having to renew the document.

"What we think we should have is a policy that is really welcoming to South Africa," Dlamini-Zuma said.

"The paradigm must shift from us wanting to keep everybody out."

She said foreigners with scarce skills were necessary in "accelerating our economic development", adding that South Africa must "be welcoming".

"At the moment people (with scarce skills) who come to us tend to be given a permit for one year. Then they have to renew it.

"Our view is that's not good enough because a person wants to have some certainty over a period of time ... if they go to a new country to work."

According to a document tabled at the briefing, a review of the permit system is needed to create "a conducive environment for foreign investment in the economy and the attraction of scarce skills".

Said Dlamini-Zuma: "If there is a scarce skill that is being recruited we should be able to give them maybe a five-year permit to work so there is stability in their lives." - Sapa

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