In his State of the Nation Address, President Ramaphosa announced the imminent release of the highly anticipated updated Critical Skills list for public comment by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA).

The list forms part of a drive to attract critically deemed skills to underpin efforts to regenerate the economy. In support of this important process, Xpatweb is extending its Critical Skills Survey until 1 March 2021 to give industry stakeholders an opportunity to participate in the upcoming immigration change in South Africa.

“Xpatweb’s Critical Skills Survey takes place annually and has established itself as an important way of measuring the skills needed in the economy. We were honoured to be asked to present our cumulative findings to the Departments of Home Affairs and Higher Education and Training late last year, and so contribute to the draft list that will be released for public comment,” says Marisa Jacobs, Director at Xpatweb.

“We will be making the research, which is currently in the field and with over 200 participants, available to the Government as part of our comment on the draft list.

“Keeping the survey open for a further two weeks will give industry players a better chance to make their skills needs known.”

Global Competition for In-Demand Skills

In today’s sophisticated and highly competitive economies, countries are competing for skills to help them stay abreast of fast-moving technologies and rapidly changing business models. A growing number of countries are using their immigration policies to attract these skills to their shores.

For example, Britain recently announced favourable visa conditions for much-needed healthcare workers, and Mauritius has introduced a special fast track for investment professionals as it cements its position as Africa’s financial hub.

In addition, multinationals operating in various geographical areas need to be able to expedite the transfer of skilled individuals to their subsidiaries as needed. Accordingly, the implementation of skills transfer plans have become vital due to Covid-19 greatly inhibiting the mobility of foreign skilled workers, thus ensuring locals receive necessary training on these particular skills.

Thus far, this year’s Xpatweb Critical Skills Survey shows that occupations in the Engineering and ICT sectors remain most in demand, followed by occupations such as Foreign Language Speakers, a range of Artisans and C-Suite Executive-level Management.

“Attracting the skills we need is vital if we are to increase economic output and get the economy back on track,” Ms Jacobs says.

Last Chance to Make an Impact

“Government’s initiative to fine-tune our immigration system to make it easier for companies to attract the skilled people they need is admirable, and clearly the more data it has to work with, the more accurate the list will be. We’ve already had record participation in this year’s survey, which indicates how important an issue this is. We are urging companies to take advantage of the new closing date to make sure their voices are included in the process of compiling the final critical-skills list.”

Xpatweb’s Critical Skills Survey remains open until 1 March 2021 and can be accessed here.



Marisa Jacobs