Labour: New foreign worker rules

Employment and Labour minister Thulas Nxesi says that his department is currently working on the labour migration policy which will be tabled in cabinet soon, reports BusinessTech.

Speaking at a media briefing this week, Nxesi said the policy will regulate and limit sectors on the number of people employers can hire from other countries especially in sectors that do not require sophisticated skills. “We have signed binding international agreements and will ensure that our policy does not conflict with those agreements. In short, whatever we do, will be in line with the Constitution,” he said.

Briefing parliament in March, Nxesi said that the policy would primarily deal with low-skilled workers, with government expecting a ‘big debate’ given the tensions around foreigners in the country. Nxesi said that South African employers deliberately prefer foreign workers as a source of cheap labour, as they are willing to take ‘anything’ for wages.

The minister said that a number of interventions were being considered as part of the policy but confirmed that his department was considering the introduction of quotas that would specify how many foreign workers could be hired in a given sector.

Based on previous comments by Nxesi, the sectors which are likely to be directed impacted by the labour migration policy include:

  • The hospitality sector;

  • Restaurants;

  • Security;

  • Farming and agriculture.

Specific jobs such as restaurant waiters and truck drivers are also likely to come under scrutiny as they have previously been identified by the department as having a high concentration of foreign workers.

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