Pokroy reasons that important stakeholders, such as the South African Chamber of Busi- ness which he represents on migration policy issues, were not consulted to help develop the quotas.
Department of Home Affairs spokesperson Cleo Mosana explains that the department is not responsible for researching the quotas. Instead, she says that the quotas are based on information from consultations with the Department of Labour together with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). “The quotas we are using are determined by the national critical-skills list,” says Mosana. She notes that the department could only go forward with the quotas once they had been finalised in consultation with the DTI and the Department of Labour. While Pokroy explains that the quotas are supposed to be based on the critical-skills list, all attempts by the Law Society of South Africa to obtain a copy of the list have been unsuccessful.
“The Law Society, which represents 40 000 people, cannot get answers or replies,” adds Pokroy.
“If research was done, we would like to see this research,” says Pokroy.
He adds that some of the skills quotas apply to sectors that are ‘dead’, while other important sub-categories have been neglected altogether.
As an example, Pokroy points to the ‘health and medical sciences profession’ which does not include quotas for doctors and nurses, although it makes allowance for 5 150 applicants under sub-categories such as ‘biological science technician’ and ‘bioinformatics.’ Referring to the number of well-qualified South African nurses that are being lost to other countries, Pokroy feels that quotas for doctors and nurses should have been included in the professional categories. However, he feels that one of the professions which have been covered adequately by the quotas is information technology (IT) – altogether, a quota for 4 000 people has been issued for IT.
Pokroy reasons that the Law Society of South Africa, which, through its members, represents ‘major IT players’, sees the quota as a ‘positive’.
The South African IT sector, he explains, needs to keep pace with IT advances in countries like the US and India.
“We welcome the fact that they have recognised this,” says Pokroy. The sector that has received the most significant attention is the science and engineering field, which has quotas for 32 subcategories, ranging from aeronautical engineers to space scientists and tool designers.
The release of the quotas will also impact on applications for permanent residence in South Africa – Pokroy explains that a professional will not be able to apply for permanent residence unless the Minister of Home Affairs has published the annual limits for each quota for his or her specific profession. For instance, since quotas have not been issued for doctors, a doctor with permanent employment cannot apply for permanent residence until his or her work permit reflects a five-year work record.
Exceptions will be made if the doctor can provide proof that he or she falls under an extraordinary skills or qualifications category.