South Africa's 56 most wanted skills

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After two years of discussion and research, the Department of Home Affairs has now released a list of 56 occupations where up to 22 550 foreigners will have easier access to the South African job market.

Previously, immigrants needed to have a confirmed job offer before applying for a work permit. Now a range of workers, from engineers to maths and science teachers, will be able to apply for work permits without a firm job offer.

Some relief for unemployed graduates is that the quotas will only be available for immigrants who, as long as the relevant qualifications, also have at least five years relevant experience.

The construction industry has been allocated up to 5000 Construction Civil and Structural Engineers and another 5 000 industrial engineers.

Smaller allocations are available for Virologists (250), Combinatorial and Computational Chemistry (150) and Earth Sciences Technicians (250).

The educational community will be pleased that up to 1 000 Maths and Science teachers will be able to enter the country.

There was some confusion on the release of the scare skills quota list, with Business Unity South Africa (Busa) unable to view a copy of the document, and no clarity from the Government Printer on an official publication date.

Busa were quoted as saying that, "It would have been nice of Busa had been consulted on the establishment and statistical basis for skilled quota levels, but this did not occur'. They were however, "glad. that something has happened and at least there is an opportunity to bring in experts or needed skills under a quota process'.

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