39 new jobs added to South Africa’s critical skills list – a huge boost to healthcare

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The latest revision of the South African Department of Home Affair’s critical skills list will give the country’s health care a huge boost, says law firm Webber Wentzel.

By comparing the list of critical skills published this week with the list published in February and published in February 2022, the DHA has identified a further 39 occupations in which certain skills or qualifications are critical.

“The revised Critical Skills List provides a general description of specialist physicians and individual specializations for each profession. This means that foreigners working in the newly listed professions can now qualify for the corresponding work visas and permanent residence permits,” the company said.

The new professions are:

  • Dental specialist – in 5 different specialized fields;
  • Physician Specialist – in 27 specialized areas;
  • Registered Nurse – in 6 specialized areas; and
  • Industrial Pharmacist.

For the newly added professions, the Critical Skills List gives the minimum required qualification level; however, it does not indicate a prescribed minimum NQF level that is required, as with the other professions listed.

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However, it does specify the qualifications required to qualify for the newly added professions.

A minor change in an existing listed profession concerns that of Nursing Educator, which, in line with the focus on specialists, has been changed to Specialized Nursing Educator.

“If an alien does not meet the requirements in the revised list due to the emphasis on specialized skills, he or she will not be eligible to renew his or her current Critical Skills Work Visa when it expires,” Webber Wentzel said.

“If a foreign national has the skills and qualifications listed in the revised Critical Skills List, he or she must still be registered as a member of a relevant professional body, board or council.

“In addition, an alien registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) must provide evidence of his or her active registration with the appropriate foreign regulatory body for the specific field of study.”

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Foreign healthcare professionals with the qualifications and experience much needed in South Africa and the companies willing to hire them in South Africa can breathe a sigh of relief, the law firm said.

However, it noted that foreign nationals eligible under the revised Critical Skills List must still meet all other applicable requirements set out in the Immigration Act and Regulations.

Nurse shortage

The revised critical skills list comes at an opportune time after private hospital groups this week expressed frustration at the government’s failure to address the growing shortage of nursing skills in the country.

The Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) held its conference this week, where speakers highlighted the challenges the healthcare industry faces in training skilled nurses.

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Nurses in South Africa are moving towards retirement age without the necessary influx of new nurses to fill the gap. Private hospitals say they can train new nurses but claim the South African Nursing Council (SANC) – the only body that can accredit nurses and their qualifications – is holding them back.

In response to the claim, the SANC this week denied blocking the training of nurses in private hospitals, but admitted that the accreditation process is slow due to a shift in nursing qualifications.

Director of Nursing Education and Training at the Ministry of Health Dr. Kobie Marais told 702 that nursing education has moved into higher education, and as such it takes longer to get colleges accredited to train nurses.


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