Skilled Zimbabweans heading to South Africa

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The qualifications authority, Saqa, has found that almost 60% of the foreign qualifications they evalute are from Zimbabweans. For nine months last year almost 10 000 Zimbabweans were applying for work permits and required recognition of their qualifications to obtain skilled positions in South Africa.


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One of the tragedies facing Zimbabwe is the loss of highly skilled people on a daily basis, evident by the number of applications received by SAQA.
Almost 60 percent of the foreign qualification evaluations undertaken by SAQA?s Centre for the Evaluation of Educational Qualifications (CEEQ) are for Zimbabwean work permit applications.
According to the South African Qualifications Authority, of the 17 086 evaluations of qualifications it performed between January and September last year, 9 756 (57 percent) were for the purpose of processing Zimbabwean work permit applications.
Nadina Coetzee, Deputy Director of CEEQ explains that applications for evaluation are often a barometer of social, political and economic conditions in a country.
"We tend to see a sharp increase in the applications for evaluation of foreign qualifications from countries in conflict situations and economic crisis, as is the case with Zimbabwe. We see a broad range of qualified people coming through with very high levels of education and training".
"There are many artisans but an equally good representation of degrees and level 7 B. Tech-type qualifications. Many qualified teachers and engineers are coming into South Africa".
"Considering our country?s dramatic shortage in these fields, these migrants could be extremely valuable in helping us meet the skills crisis and transfer skills to our own people,' explains Nadina.
With limited local skilled workers and in line with Government initiatives to overcome this challenge, companies have taken to importing skills from other countries to meet the demand.
However, it is required by immigration policy that foreign job candidates have their work permit applications accompanied by a SAQA certificate of evaluation of their foreign qualification, which basically maps it to a level on the SA National Qualifications Framework (NQF).
"These certificates of evaluation are essential documents for foreigners seeking employment and therefore in high demand - which makes CEEQ a high pressure environment".
"Much can be done by applicants to ensure the fast tracking and ease of evaluation by simply taking care that paperwork is 100% complete and meets all the requirements stipulated in our application guide,' explains Nadina.
SAQA has done much to streamline its operations and prevent backlogs in the process of scarce skills importation from other countries. However, applicants also need to ensure they do their homework and submit all the necessary documentation to facilitate their evaluation.
"Evaluation is a time intensive and complex process and even the omission of seemingly small details can hinder the process. Application material is available on SAQA?s website - www.saqa.org.za
Completing the application form correctly and providing all the required support documentation go a long way in getting applications processed as speedily as possible.
Applicants, government departments and companies are also encouraged to liaise timeously with SAQA.


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