18 April 2023 - NW951
Zondo, Mr S S to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation
(1)Whether his department has any plans in place to replace the lecturers from Zimbabwe and Lesotho who have been living and working in the Republic on exemption permits, but who have been told that their services are no longer required by his department; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details of the plans; (2) whether there has been any communication with the Department of Home Affairs regarding permits for academic staff; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?
With regards to university lecturers, the Council of a university is assigned the role of an employer as per the Higher Education Act (Act 101 of 1997) as amended, the Department is not assigned this role. The critical skills list identifies scarce skills which are deemed as critical, it also serves as a reference document when appointing foreign nationals. Universities seeking to appoint foreign nationals are required to approach the Department with a request and motivation to process the appointment, this is after they have conducted internal recruitment processes and are unable to attract and appoint a suitably qualified South African national. They then approach specific professional registration bodies/entities to verify the prerequisites before a candidate can be appointed. In cases where there is no Professional body to register with, universities approach the Department with a motivation for support for a critical skills visa application.
The Department may then support the motivation and request the Department of Home Affairs to consider the university’s request/incumbents application in terms of the requisite policies and legislation of the Department of Home Affairs which governs critical skills visas. Ultimately, it is the prerogative of the Department of Home affairs to grant or not to grant work permits.