South Africa: Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities On Missed Deadline for Remote Working Visa

527 days and still no Remote Working Visa

The Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi, has confirmed in a letter to the Western Cape Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Opportunities and Tourism, that his department has missed its own deadline to introduce the Remote Working Visa in South Africa by the end of June this year.

This means that it has now been 527 days and counting since President Ramaphosa first announced the intention to introduce this much needed and sought after visa category, in his February 2022 State of the Nation Address.

Remote workers, or Digital Nomads, are people who have jobs elsewhere in the world, who because of remote working options, would prefer to conduct this work (and spend their foreign earnings) in our beautiful destination.

This means that the introduction of a remote Working VISA is a clear win-win solution to boost long-stay tourism in the Western Cape and South Africa and is very much in line with South Africa Tourism’s drive to get tourists to stay longer. Today I attended a workshop convened by Minister of Tourism, Minister de Lille, it is clear that we need to work much harder to increase the number of tourists visiting South Africa. The Remote working visa is an excellent way to achieve this.

The continued and unnecessary delay to introduce this VISA means that South Africa and the Western Cape continues to lose digital nomads to competitor destinations, such as our neighbour Namibia, which have moved with speed and urgency to attract this new market.

While Minister Motsoaledi attributes the delay to the need to amend the Immigration Act, the Western Cape Government’s constructive proposal to the Department of Home Affairs, first submitted May 2021 and again in September 2022, sets out clear recommendations that would enable the introduction of this VISA within the existing legal framework, through amendments to Immigration Act 13 of 2002 regulations – without needing to amend the Immigration Act.

There is a clear proposal on how to swiftly introduce a remote work VISA and the continued failure to introduce this VISA category is costing our economy and compromising job creation, at a time when we should be doing all we can to grow and support sectors that have shown resilience and significant job-creating potential, such as tourism.

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