The Covid-19 lockdown is causing a headache for employers of expats whose work visas are about to expire or will expire during the Covid-19 lockdown.
A recent survey undertaken by Xpatweb shows that 44% of employers – who represent 150 JSE-listed and large multinational companies operating across Africa - are faced with the conundrum.
Some 37% of the participants have new assignees who were due to enter the country during the first quarter of 2020 and are waiting for the lockdown regulations to be lifted in order to enter.
These expats will then need to obtain work visas from 34 different SA embassies around the world. Top of the list of countries from which the assignees will be coming are Germany, Zimbabwe, China, India and Spain.
Embassies that will also be kept busy include Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Serbia, New Zealand and the US.
Interestingly, 84% of the participating companies indicated that they were not affected by revoked visas. When the Department of Home Affairs issued its first directive – just before the lockdown and the travel ban – it stated that certain visas issued to people from high risk countries would be revoked.
According to the survey 9% of expats either resigned their positions or declined a position due to the coronavirus outbreak. Employers have indicated that their preferred recruitment destination to have these positions filled is internationally (30%) compared to locally (20%). Another 20% said they would look both locally and internationally
“It is important to remember that the work visa does not become active on the day it is issued. It only becomes active once the expat travels through a border and it is loaded onto the Department’s track-and-trace system,” the survey points out.