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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Game-changer ‘nomad’ visa is officially here

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Foreigners, who are employed and paid by companies elsewhere, can now start applying to come and work in South Africa on a remote worker visa, or the so-called nomad visa, as long as they earn at least R1 million annually.


The Department of Home Affairs this week refiled the long-awaited changes to its work permit regime, which allows for the creation of this particular visa for remote workers.


There had been criticism from foreign-owned employers in South Africa that they are unable to get technicians and executives into the country, and applicants face long waiting periods to get work permits to come here. This amid a local skills crisis.


Law firm, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, says from a tax perspective, if the remote working visa is issued for a period not exceeding six months within a thirty-six-month period, the foreign national may apply to be exempted from paying tax.


The City of Cape Town has welcomed the revised visa regulations, claiming a victory as MMC for Economic Growth James Vos says the Department of Home Affairs finally took note of suggestions made by industry and the City of Cape Town in 2022.


RELATED: City to push new Tourism Minister for Remote Worker Visa


Vos says the new ”nomad” visa category, which he has tirelessly advocated for through numerous submissions, will be a ”game-changer” for the local visitor economy.


”By enabling remote workers to stay longer in our city, we can substantially boost our tourism value proposition, as these visitors will spend more money, benefiting various local businesses and services.”


The City is keen to capitalize off the remote worker regime and has signed partnerships with industry bodies and marketing agencies to ensure that Cape Town’s attractiveness for remote work is showcased effectively.


Cape Town Tourism has also partnered with Airbnb to highlight the Mother City’s destination value for international remote workers.


Vos says it is now up to the National Government to focus its efforts on making sure that the visas can be effectively issued and that the entire visa system is efficient, as it could be a major boost to the economy, drive investments and ultimately, create jobs for locals.


As much as Cape Town is excited over remote workers flocking here, there are concerns.


One of the major concerns is the ability of digital nomads, who typically command higher salaries, to drive up living costs in major city centres like Cape Town and Johannesburg.


Ventureburn reports there could also be a potential impact on the local coding community, which could displace local coding talent.


South Africa is the 5th African country, after Cape Verde, Mauritius, the Seychelles, and Namibia, to offer digital nomad visas.


Liesl Smit
Liesl Smit
Liesl is the Smile 90.4FM News Manager. She has been at Smile since 2016, with nearly 20 years experience in the radio industry, including reading news, field reporting and producing. In 2008 she won the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award, Western Cape region. liesl@smile904.fm

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