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South Africa – Crackdown on illegal recruitment of foreigners

20 November 2013

The South African government has warned that it will take a hard-line stance against employers violating laws governing the recruitment of foreign nationals. Stiff penalties will be levied against employers hiring foreign nationals who do not have the requisite work permits.

Speaking at a meeting of the select committee on labour and public enterprises in Cape Town, Sam Morotoba, the acting Director-General of the Department of Labour, gave a presentation to the committee on the purpose of the Employment Services Bill ahead of its submission to the National Council of Provinces on Thursday.

Mr Morotoba said: “The bill seeks to contribute to the government's objectives of more jobs, decent work, and sustainable livelihoods. Employers should be reminded that they cannot hire anyone without the necessary documents from the Department of Home Affairs, as the bill seeks to protect the employment conditions and opportunities for South African citizens and permanent residents.”

Without providing specifics, he added: “Employers should know that if they are caught, they will face heavy fines.”

The bill, which reinforces the Immigration Act, empowers the Minister of Labour to make regulations regarding the procedures that must be undertaken before employing foreign nationals. The minister is also empowered to make regulations for the reporting and registration of existing or new vacancies by employers with the Public Employment Services.

The bill prohibits employers from hiring foreign nationals to perform work not authorised in terms of the work visa. The bill further provides for the registration of private employment agencies. Such agencies are, however, prohibited from charging work seekers any fees for services rendered except in the case of specific categories.

Tens of thousands of foreigners from neighbouring countries work in South Africa, many of them illegally. They compete with the locals for scarce jobs. This not only worsens unemployment but also leads to increased attacks on foreigners in the country.

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