According to Government there is a critical skills shortage in our country. There has been much debate about the list that was published in the Government Gazette on the 3rd of June 2014. The publishing of this list is extremely interesting as according to Government, foreigners are being urgently sought to fill these positions. This has given rise to much discussion by South African citizens, especially the ones that are living abroad. Why is this?

Let’s consider that a South African citizen living in South Africa qualifies for one of the critical skills list but is not working in that particular field. People are apparently finding it difficult to find jobs in fields that they are qualified for or are finding that the salaries offered are just not sustainable in current times. These people are more than likely taking other career paths in employment.
There is also the case of many people who have emigrated to other countries for various reasons such as the higher earning potential for their skills in other countries. Some of them have perhaps battled initially to find employment here in their field but would love to return home. Were there no positions in their field or did BEE policy intervene?

Statistics South Africa stopped collecting data a few years ago and so it is very hard to pin point exactly how many South Africans are living abroad and if this can in fact count as a valid reason for the current skills shortage on the recently published list. According to the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development in 2012 there were an estimated 588388 South African emigrants aged 15 or over living in other OECD Countries. It will be no surprise that the highest numbers were living in the UK, Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Canada respectively.

We do have to take into consideration that another study released in 2014 by Adcorp indicated that roughly 350 000 “high skilled” citizens returned home after the global financial crisis of 2008-9. Have these people found employment in their field of choice? Another pertinent question could be why Government wants to encourage foreigners to fill these positions when there are many South Africans who are indeed eligible?
The New Critical skills Visa List of Shortage Occupations can be read here…
Your Thoughts?