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What the new Employment Services Act says about employing foreign nationals

by , 17 August 2015
The Employment Services Act came into effect on 9 August 2015. In our previous article, we mentioned what the Act aims to do.

Some of the focuses of the Act include employment of foreign nationals. One of the requirements is that you must make sure there are no other South African citizens with suitable skills and qualifications before you hire a foreign national.

If you don't comply with this and other requirements, you could face fines of up to R50 000 or even jail time.

Let's look at four other obligations you need to know about employing foreign nationals...

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Four obligations on employing foreign nationals

Foreign nationals are people who are neither citizens nor permanent residents in the country, in this case South Africa.

The Employment Services Act requires you to comply with the following obligations:

1. If you employ a foreign national, you must make sure he has a valid work permit.

2. The employment of foreign nationals must be according to the provisions of the Immigration Act, in conjunction with the Employment Services Act.

3. You can't ask a foreign national to do any work he isn't authorised to do in terms of his work permit. Or, expect him to do work that conflicts to the terms of his work permit.

4. You may use public employment services or private employment agencies to assist you in recruiting a suitable employee who's a South African citizen or a permanent foreign resident.

Remember, if you knowingly employ an illegal foreigner or a foreigner in violation of the Immigration Act, you'll be committing a criminal offence. And you'll be liable to a fine and/or imprisonment.

The Department of Labour and the Department of Home Affairs sometimes send inspectors to workplaces to check whether the employer is breaking any laws. The penalty for contravening the Immigration Act and the Employment Services Act can be up to R50 000 or jail time. So make sure you treat the matter seriously.

P.S. Bookings for the Employment Services Act Workshop are opening soon. If you would more information, email your name with the subject line "Employment Services Act Workshop" to seminars@fsp.co.za

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