The South African Department of Home Affairs has published a Green Paper on Migration. This paper proposes that international migration must be managed proactively and strategically in order to contribute to national priorities such as nation building and social cohesion, inclusive economic growth and national security.

The current policy is largely limited to compliance rather than managing international migration therefore the revision of this policy is welcomed.

Below is a summary of the key proposals: 

  1. Establishment of a Border Management Authority to allow for Integrated border control between customs and and immigration. The core functions will be to ensure the efficient and humane delivery of secure services. The intention is to establish the authority formally by March 2017
  2. Delinking of residency from citizenship: proposal is to take into account the national priorities of the country when granting permanent residence and citizenship status. Main considerations will be based on skills and/or investment and/or family-based criteria.
  3. The introduction of the point based system for the attraction of migrants with skills, investment and business interests. This system can respond more strategically and flexibly to changing situations and needs.
  4. Long term visa for migrant with skills, investment and business interests which allows easy access to permanent residence. Family members must be able to apply as a family unit and family must be allowed to work and study on the same type of visa.
  5. Strategic use of visa and permitting to retain international student post graduation.
  6. Training and transfer of skills: recruitment of skilled migrants must be linked to a mechanism that ensures the direct or indirect transfer of skills to citizens. Establishment of a national training scheme, to be funded by South African employers of foreign nationals, and the funds to be used to train South Africans in the required skills.
  7. Introduction of a new work visa specifically for nationals of the South African Development Community (SADC).
  8. Removal of the automatic right of asylum seekers to work and study in South Africa.
  9. To foster ties with diaspora communities in order to reap the full benefits of South Africans working and studying abroad. This could include the establishment of an institution to actively promote emigration to meet varied national goals such as labour and study exchange programs.tapping into the resources of the diaspora and embracing the diaspora communities by offering various services such as multinational citizenship, consular services an reintegration schemes.  

Action Points

The policy recommendations are open to public comment until 30 September 2016, thereafter the white paper will be published and this will serve as a basis for future immigration legislative reform. An electronic copy of the Green Paper is accessible from the Department’s website:  Written submissions should be forwarded to Mr. Sihle Mthiyane on

Expats on the Globe (EOG) will be submitting comments and recommendations and we encourage you to contribute to this process. Kindly email your written comments and recommendations to:

We hope that through the process of public consultation we will be able to assist Home Affairs with the drafting of an improved migration policy for the further development of South Africa. 

Should you have any questions with regard to the above communication, kindly contact us.


Mobile number

Office number

Connie Peter

+27 82 496 5827

+27 10 500 0316  

Sunitha Jeewan

+27 82 086 2229

+27 10 500 0310 


The information contained in this Immigration Alert may not be relied or acted upon without prior consultation.

No liability is accepted for the consequence of any inaccuracies contained in this Immigration Alert.