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Brain drain loading: SA’s ’emigration exodus’ is causing a major problem

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Oct 22, 2021

South Africa is losing skilled workers faster than it can hire replacements from abroad, sparking a wave of concern amongst some of the biggest companies in the country. That’s according to Marisa Jacobs of Xpatweb, who claimed this week that an ’emigration exodus’ of highly-trained workers is creating a brain drain on our shores.

Emigration exodus leaves top jobs empty

Jacobs has identified that many South Africans are choosing to pursue international opportunities, in order to earn more money and potentially create opportunities for their families back home. However, as our best and brightest flock overseas, the same enthusiasm for skilled workers to ply their trade in SA is missing:

“It cannot be ignored that a contributor to the ever-increasing skills shortages in South Africa, is the exodus of skilled and experienced professionals moving abroad. Their motivation is to pursue international exposure, take advantage of earning a foreign currency, gain global experience, and create opportunities for their families.”

“The big concern is indeed the sad loss of South African professionals who have chosen to emigrate. However, it has also raised another glaring concern. There are companies in dire need of filling key positions to conduct their business.”

“Failure to find suitable South African candidates for these roles has resulted in Human Resource professionals casting their lines further afield with the hopes of snagging professionals abroad.” | Marisa Jacobs

Skilled workers ‘not flocking’ to South Africa- but why?

However, it seems or emigration exodus problem is multi-faceted. Not only are we losing top-tier workers at a faster rate than we can bring them in, but the never-ending visa red tape also stands in the way of progress.

Jacobs admits that the process to get into South Africa for skilled workers isn’t easy, but has defended the mechanisms in place, saying that it is vital for businesses to ensure they possess the most ‘administratively efficient’ paperwork.

“Before applying for work visas, their qualifications must first be assessed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and their skills and experience corroborated by the relevant professional body. Only then does the matter progress to the DHA, before the position is finally filled and work resumed.”

“It is vital for each step in the process to be handled expertly. We better appreciate than most the business importance and personal impact of obtaining a legal and correctly categorised visa in the most administratively efficient and timely manner.”

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