ZIMBABWEAN students graduating from South African universities in critical skills areas will soon qualify for permanent residence permits. In a statement, the country’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said foreigners, Zimbabweans included, graduating at South African universities would benefit from the new dispensation.
Thousands of Zimbabweans are studying in South Africa and some of them have been sent there on the Presidential Scholarship Fund. “The first of these initiatives, to be formally launched in the coming weeks, is a special exemption to allow graduate international students in critical skills areas to qualify for permanent residence permits upon graduation.
“This measure is to ensure that South Africa benefits from all of the skills produced by its universities, and to make it easier for international students who want to work or start businesses in South Africa after graduation to do so,” Gigaba said.
He said the foreign graduates would contribute to the growth of the South African industry. “International students constitute a key segment which is prioritised by governments globally because of the economic and social benefits they offer host countries in terms of adding to the skills base and contributing positively to society more broadly,” Gigaba said.
He said he would formally launch the special exemption scheme in the coming weeks. Last year, South Africa issued 4,424 critical skills visas and 80 percent of them were finalised within the target turnaround time of eight weeks.
South Africa’s decision comes at a time when the government is in the process of signing labour exportation agreements with several African countries to benefit unemployed graduates. South Sudan, which already has an agreement with Zimbabwe, wants 20,000 Zimbabweans to work in different fields in that country.