IMCOSA has today submitted comments for consideration by the Department of Home Affairs and the Minister in terms of the planned implementation of new Immigration Regulations. The comments evolved around the following (excerpt):

Draft Regulations to the Immigration Act, as amended
Published on 14 February 2014
Submission to the Department of Home Affairs – IMCOSA


Dear Mr XXXXX,

We wish to thank you for the opportunity to submit to the Department our comments on the proposed Immigration Regulations, which are critically important to our clients and South Africa as a whole.

IMCOSA is a specialised immigration consulting firm established in 2005. The writer, Julia Willand, has been actively involved in the immigration industry since 2000, has served on the Minister's Immigration Advisory Board (IAB) and in various other capacities.

We hope that our professional knowledge, our grassroots experience through daily interactions with our clients, as well as our historic memory of immigration processes in South Africa will assist your Department in its review of the draft Regulations. We are available at any time for any further questions that may exist or consultations that may be deemed to be of value to you or your Department.

Yours sincerely

Julia Willand
Assessor iuris / Immigration Practitioner

 Executive Summary:

• The proposed rules under the draft Regulations will not only close loopholes (which is welcomed), but create a vastly more restrictive system, taking away much-needed flexibility and means to react fast to urgent and critical skills shortages.
• The Regulations have clearly been drafted in haste, are poorly thought-through and contain many technical and logical errors. Although some of the changes may be long overdue and needed, the harm that will be caused by hastily implementing poor Regulations will by far outweigh the benefit of achieving the few needed changes.
• A decision to implement the proposed system as it is, will be short-sighted and its effect on business and the economy is being under-estimated. The immigration policy review by the HSRC has not been completed. Whilst it is certain that the proposed changes will immediately cause massive upheaval and disruption over many months, some or many of the changes may end up having to be reversed again shortly thereafter. Apart from the harm caused to business, academia and society at large, this seems to be an unjustifiable waste of tax payers' money.
• By tightening the requirements for skilled foreign nationals, for corporate permits/visas and for investors, and by making the processes progressively less predictable, South African jobs will be lost in large numbers in the short to medium term. South Africa competes with other African and global destinations in attracting multi-nationals and their investments. Major factors in this are legal certainty and predictability, as well as the ability to turn projects around quickly, which includes being able to get the needed skills into the country within a reasonable turn-around time. These factors are considerably impacted on by the draft Regulations.
• By de-regulating the immigration consulting industry, doors will be opened wide to corruption. The quality of advice and support to local employers and their foreign nationals, as well as to foreign investors, will deteriorate and this will harm South Africa's reputation and attractiveness as a skills and investment destination.

Following: 15 pages of a detailed assessment of the planned changes, their risks and their impact on the current immigration sector.