Employment and Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi said his department is finalizing two new documents that will strengthen employment laws, including limitations on hiring foreigners.
Nxesi was responding this week to complaints from truckers that led to a major blockage of the N3 highway. One of the main complaints raised by the drivers is that the jobs are filled by legal and illegal foreign workers.
One of the main ways the government plans to address this issue is through the draft National Labor Migration Policy, Nxesi said. He noted that the policy seeks to strike a balance in several areas, including:
- The first is to meet the expectations of South Africans regarding access to work opportunities, given rising unemployment and the perception that foreign nationals distort access to the labor market. The NLMP, along with the proposed legislation, will introduce quotas on the total number of documented foreigners with work visas which can be employed in major economic sectors such as agriculture, hospitality and tourism, construction, etc.
- The NLMP will be complemented by small business interventions and enforcement of a list of industries where foreign nationals cannot be granted business visas and amendments to the Small Business Act to limit foreign nationals creating SMEs and trading in certain sectors of the economy.
- The Home Office is reviewing current legislation and strengthening the Border Management Authority to secure porous borders and allow orderly movement of people and other nationals through entry points only.
- The government plans to step up inspections to enforce existing labor and immigration laws.
Employment Services Amendment Bill
Nxesi said the National Labor Migration Policy goes hand in hand with the Employment Services Amendment Bill, which provides the legal basis to regulate the extent to which employers can employ foreign nationals. in their establishments while protecting the rights of migrants.
The proposed changes to the Employment Services Act are intended to limit the extent to which employers can employ the number of foreign nationals with valid work visas in their employment,” he said.
It will also impose several obligations on an employer employing foreign workers, including:
- Employ only foreign nationals authorized to work under immigration law, refugee law or any other provision;
- Ensure that the foreign national has the right to work in the Republic in the corresponding position;
- Ensure that there are no South Africans with the required skills to fill the vacancy;
- Prepare a skills transfer plan, if applicable;
- Employ foreign nationals under the same conditions as local workers; and
- Keep copies of relevant documentation.
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