Employment and Labour Minister releases SA National Labour Migration Policy for public comment

Employment and Labour Minister releases SA National Labour Migration Policy for public comment

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi today unveiled South Africa’s National Labour Migration Policy (NLMP) for public comment and engagement – saying the initiative seeks to strike a balance among conflicting interests.

The Department of Employment and Labour has published a gazette on its website on the National Labour Migration Policy. The department through its Public Employment Services (PES) branch has developed the draft for the consultations that will lay the basis to engage with stakeholders in a series of national consultations/dialogues.

Through the draft NLMP the department seeks to guide and coordinate the development process leading to the adoption of South Africa’s labour migration strategy. The department has identified Government departments as key stakeholders to initiate the process. More social partners and other key stakeholders will in the next few months be engaged as the dialogues unfolds.

Addressing a media briefing at Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) offices in Pretoria, Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi said government has researched extensively and benchmarked internationally in search of policy based on best practice. Nxesi said the policy was an outcome of a Cabinet process and consultation with social partners.

“It has become increasingly apparent, with the rapid expansion of international migration flows that South Africa needs to develop appropriate policy effectively to manage this. South Africa is not immune to international migration trends as well as attempts to exploit this for political gain. Our response is to develop an effective NLMP”; Nxesi said.

The Minister urged all social parties to use the next 90 days to submit their inputs.

“The National Labour Migration Policy goes hand in hand with a proposed Employment Services (ES) Amendment Bill -providing a policy framework and the legal basis to regulate the extent to which employers can employ foreign nationals in their establishments while protecting the rights of migrants,” he said the proposed amendments to the Employment Services Act (of 2014) aims to limit the extent to which employers can employ the number of foreign nationals in possession of a valid work visa in their employment and places the obligations to an employer engaging foreign workers.

Nxesi said the proposed ES Amendment Bill proposes a framework that will enable the Minister to set quotas for employment of foreign nationals. He said a quota in a sector will be set after consultation with the Employment Services Board and after considering public comments.

The development of the draft NLMP has its genesis in the 2013 Employment and Labour Sector (ELS) of the Southern African Development Community (SADC, the tripartite structure under the SADC Ministries of Employment and Labour, when they adopted an Action Plan on Labour Migration.

Nxesi said the policy aims to achieve a balance in addressing South Africans’ expectations regarding access to work opportunities, given worsening unemployment and the perception that foreign nationals are distorting labour market access while introducing quotas on sectors such as Agriculture, Hospitality and Tourism, Construction etcetera.

He said the policy will be complemented by Small Business intervention and enforcement of a list of sectors where foreign nationals cannot be allocated business visas and amendments to the Small Business Act to limit foreign nationals establishing small medium and micro enterprises and trading in some sectors of the economy.

Nxesi said that while the Department of Home Affairs was also reviewing current legislation and strengthening the Border Management Authority to secure porous borders and to allow for the orderly movement of people and other nationals through ports of entry only, the Department of Employment and Labour on its side will together with all relevant authorities step up inspections to enforce existing labour and immigration legislation.

According to Nxesi while Higher Education and Training has released a list of scarce and critical skills in high demand to provide guidance to all institutions the government will also impose various obligations on both the employer and the foreign national to transfer skills to locals and permits will be limited to specific durations.

Department of Employment and Labour Deputy Director-General Sam Morotoba has warned that if labour migration was not handled carefully the consequences would be dire. Morotoba said South Africa was among the top highest hosting countries for migrants. He said South Africa was also faced with the problem of the highest number of over-stayers (people who come to the country and never leave), with figures by United Nations in 2021 showing the number has grown to 1,6-million.

Morotoba said the department seeks to consult thoroughly before going back to Nedlac and Cabinet in the middle of the year for the refinement of inputs.

Documents on the call for inputs are available on the website of the department and inputs can be sent to: NLMP@labour.gov.za(link sends e-mail)

The Department’s website is accessible at www.labour.gov.za

↯↯↯Read More On The Topic On TDPel Media ↯↯↯

»Share Your Opinion On TDPel Media«