SOUTH AFRICA – Premium Visa Service for Qualifying Corporate Accounts
On 14 May 2015 a new Corporate Account Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) Centre was opened in Johannesburg as a one-stop shop for quicker and more efficient visa applications for foreign nationals employed by qualifying companies.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) has invited interested companies to apply for Corporate Account status by 25 May 2015. It is not clear at present whether the application window may be extended after this date.
What are the Benefits?
The Corporate Account VFS Centre will only serve foreign nationals attached to companies which have been given Corporate Account status, and will expedite applications and provide support and advisory services. It is likely, therefore, that applications submitted at the new Corporate Account VFS Centre will be processed much quicker.
Who is Likely to Qualify?
Based on the selection criteria in the points system outlined below, companies most likely to qualify for Corporate Account status are those which have, or which are planning to have, large numbers of foreign national employees.
Those with a relatively low number of foreign national employees (i.e. 10-20) might not meet the selection criteria, but are welcome to apply.
As the new Corporate Account VFS Centre has been opened in Johannesburg, it will mainly benefit those businesses located in the Gauteng Province and neighboring provinces.
The DHA will make use of the following points system in evaluating applications:
- The number of visas required in key positions - this will be counted in man-years over the coming three years (20 Points);
- Size of the incremental capital expenditure (capex) over the coming three years (20 Points);
- National priority/relevance of the visa requested to the development of national infrastructure (20 Points);
- Critical skills component - percentage of visas contained in the notice contemplated in section 19(4) of the Immigration Act, 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2002) (20 Points);
- Efforts by the corporate applicant to transfer imported skills to locals (20 Points);
- Proof that at least 60% of the total staff employed by the business are permanently employed South African nationals or permanent residents (20 Points).
- Interested employers in South Africa should apply for Corporate Account status before Monday 25 May 2015.