If you wanted to get out of South Africa to find a safe haven in Australia or New Zealand it might be too late.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that he will abolish the country’s popular temporary work visa system and increase the standards of its citizenship test with immediate effect, in an effort to promote “Australia first” values.
BusinessTech.co.za reports on a televised interview by Turnbull earlier today (Thursday, 20 April). During the interview Turnbull is quoted as saying: “We’re defined by commitment to common values, political values, the rule of law, democracy, freedom, mutual respect, equality for men and women… These fundamental values are what make us Australian. Our citizenship process should reflect that.”
The new requirements to gain citizenship into the country will now require candidates to be permanent residents for at least four years. Previously it was only one year. In addition applicants must be competent English speakers (there goes the chances of any average Patensie farmer), must show a job record and prove they have integrated into the local community.
BusinessTech says the increase in standards of citizenship follow an announcement by Turnbull on Tuesday that he would be abolishing the country’s popular temporary 457 work visa programme in an effort to focus on creating jobs for Australians first.
According to the news agency Reuters, the 457 visa, now used by about 95,000 foreign workers, will be replaced by a new temporary visa and the list of occupations that qualify for a visa will be reduced from more than 200.
As far as New Zealand is concerned it seems the sake is happening there with the country announcing they are closely following the Australian example to drastically tighten access to its skilled work visas.
These changes which would now require a minimum income requirement and limitations on seasonal workers would be implemented at a yet undecided date later in 2017, said Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.
“These changes are designed to strike the right balance… and encourage employers to take on more Kiwis and invest in the training to upskill them,” said Woodhouse.
According to StatsSA’s Community Survey 2016, over a quarter (26%) of all South Africans emigrating from the country left to Australia. In comparison 25% left for the UK, 13.4% left for the United States and 9.5% left for New Zealand.