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Latest Immigration News- Easing travel between Kenya and South Africa

During the Minister of Home Affairs, Malusi Gigaba’s, visit to Kenya in May this year, plans were made to ease travel between South Africa and Kenya. The discussions were sparked when Kenya’s Amina Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, stated that the applications for clearance to travel, which were to be submitted by Kenyans travelling to South Africa, was a “violation of bilateral the agreement between the countries”. In summary of the discussions the following revelations were made –

agreed that study visas will be issued for the duration of the candidate’s study;transit visas for Kenyans transiting through South African airports will be scrapped;and ten-year visas with multiple entries for business travellers and academics who are required to travel to South Africa frequently will be issued.

Permanent Residency for Graduates

In the past months the Department of Home Affairs indicated that graduates of South African universities will soon be able to apply for Permanent residency, providing that they have completed their studies in “critical skills areas”. This aims at putting the skills and knowledge that the graduates have obtained from South African universities to good use in South Africa, and opens the way for international students to work or start a business in South Africa after graduation.

Introduction of the Lesotho Special Permit
Earlier this year Gigaba introduced the Lesotho Special Permit (LSP). It was indicated that the introduction of the permit was largely influenced by the “success” of the Zimbabwean special permit project, and is aimed at regularising the status of Basotho nationals in South Africa. The scheme will ensure that Lesotho and South African Governments have the biometric data of the individuals in question available to them, and thus equates to free movement between the countries. Although exact figures are not known, Basotho authorities have previously indicated that there are in excess of 400,000 Basotho nationals residing in South Africa.
Applications extended to 30 September 2016.

For more information on Lesotho Special Permits, please contact www.workpermitsouthafrica.co.za

More information on our author:

Marisa Jacobs
Marisa is a Director of Xpatweb, and has a wealth of knowledge on Immigration, specialising in the application of temporary and permanent residence applications. She assists both large corporate companies and individuals enabling her to provide a high quality immigration service that is customized to organisation and individual needs and circumstances. She has extensive experience in expatriate management and induction sessions and streamlining administrative process. Her knowledge of SARS Tax Directive Applications, Department of Labour auditing process, Reserve Bank clearances, and foreign remittance practices enables her to provide an all-inclusive service around Immigration into South Africa.

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FINDING THE FINESSE IN EXPATRIATE MOBILITY

Dealing with expatriation is a multi-faceted and often difficult process. The key is to find the invisible line between business expansion into other markets for sustainable growth and managing those individuals who are willing to relocate to a foreign cultural, socio-economic and political environment.

The goal is to ensure that the expatriate yields a return on investment for the business, as sending individuals on assignment can be a costly exercise, for both company and employee. Market penetration and operational expansion are two key strategic imperatives for most multinational organisations, therefore, there are certain skill sets which will drive operations abroad: management and specialist skills.

As these skill sets are paramount to an organisation's success, ensuring that these individuals are successful, whether it be on a short term or a long term assignment, is critical for achieving operational targets and retaining key talent.

Expatriate selection and preparation
The selection and preparation process is a vital step in managing an effective expatriate workforce, and there are many and varied requirements that have to be considered.

Relocation is an intensive and stressful exercise for the employee and their family. When a company embarks on and expatriate assignment, a number of elements need to be taken into account, among these are visas, banking, insurance, medical cover, shipping, storage, schooling, housing, security and transport, to name only a few.

Additional considerations would be the emotional and psychological effects encountered by the employee and their family, whether the family is accompanying the expatriate on the assignment or staying behind, and therefore selecting the most suitable candidate is of critical importance. The reality often is that you may not always be involved in the selection process or there may only be one individual suitable, willing and available to fill the role and in these cases the preparation of this employee and their family is all the more important to ensure a successful assignment. Where assignments fail, it is at huge cost to the company and negatively impacts on the employee, and therefore the myriad requirements that are part and parcel to the planning stages should be done with methodical precision.

Expatriate Preparation
Judging which personality type is the correct one is critical and demands specialised evaluation. We see time and time again where companies identify employees to go on assignment, where they do not score well on in the pre-assignment evaluations. It is therefore important to take all eventualities into account. Marilize de Witt, a registered industrial psychologist, concurs and insists that the best candidates have to be avidly searched for, and may not always be the obvious candidates.

One of the main reasons for the failure of expatriate assignments is the spouse and family of the expatriate employee and their unhappiness. As much as 69% of assignments fail. All these items must be taken into account when entering into any expatriate programme and as far as possible an attempt to ensure these reasons are dealt with during the selection and preparation phases. This approach, where cognisance is taken of the realities will minimise assignment failure.

Visas

Marisa Jacobs, an immigration specialist with Xpatweb, says that interestingly, while the market is severely under pressure in these economic times, and many organisations are retrenching and looking for ways to cut costs, a number of organisations are capitalising and pinching top talent. In particular, the IT industry is showing signs of strength and are on the lookout for specialist skills, which continues to expand and thrive.

There are a number of practical problems which expatriate mobility executives are faced with in terms of the immigration and visa process, making it more difficult for the employer. One of these are the requirement of a Department of Labour certificate, which includes an audit conducted by the department before being able to apply for a work visa. We are seeing increasingly long turnaround times hereon and often a negative outcome issued even where the requirements are met and well-motivated. The Critical Skills Work Visa is favourable for skilled candidates and we recommend considering this category first and foremost.

The visa requirements are usually tackled during the planning phase of the expatriate life cycle as there are quite a number of steps to follow, these include identifying the correct category of visa for both the expatriate and their family, determining whether the applicant will have to apply in their home or host country, and then off course the process of collecting all the necessary documents from both the employee and the employer. This can be quite a lengthy process and the sooner it gets underway the better.

Expatriate remuneration
Expatriate remuneration is often a highly sensitive and contentious issue. It is therefore crucial that an objective and consistent methodology is used to adjust an expatriate's salary to the specific assignment which they have been selected for. The golden rule to expatriate salary adjustment and entitlement to benefits is simple, it must be fair for both the company and the employee and a consistent methodology must be applied, in other words what is good for one is good for the other. It is vital that the International Mobility policy is formulated around this principle, obviously taking into account market best practice, local laws and current business affordability.

Repatriation
Companies should be cautious not to solely focus on the assignment; the repatriation process at the end of the expatriate's term should not be neglected. This process however can be just as stressful as the initial expatriation phase, and also needs monitoring and assessment. Many repatriated assignees believe that their term of office in a foreign country had a negative impact on their career.

In conclusion, the most consistent approach to international assignments encompasses the definitive and disciplined methods of leaving absolutely nothing to chance, and no assumptions should be made in the planning or execution phases. Companies have to ensure that the expatriate provides a good return on investment and an important part of this is ensuring the expatriate is productive as soon as possible after arrival in the host country.

A mobility programme that is all-encompassing is much more than simply moving employees from one country to another.

Information about contributors:

  • Paul Marais is a certified Global Remuneration Professional with the World@Work Society and a member of SARA. Paul has been working in the reward space for close to ten years on various remuneration projects across industry and Africa.
  • Marilize De Witt is a registered Industrial Psychologist at Africorp Solutions and Advisory who specialises in placements, selection assessments, employee development assessments and team cohesion workshops.
  • Marisa Jacobs has a wealth of knowledge on Immigration, specialising in the application of temporary and permanent residence applications. She assists both large corporate companies and individuals enabling her to provide a high quality immigration service that is customized to organisation and individual needs and circumstances.

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The Thinker and the Feeler

Understanding how your employees, team and project members think is one of the key success drivers of managing resources and creating a strong team that work efficiently together to achieve strategic objectives. It takes more than dolling out a couple of high-fives at a team building event to produce a well-oiled team. Clashing opinions and egos can spark off internal politics, create despondence and lower morale. Understanding how someone approaches their day-to-day tasks, communicates with others and deals with pressure and conflict is key to a managing an effective team, especially on executive level.

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Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Ask anyone what they understand by 'extroverts' and 'introverts' and you'll probably get responses like "a person who talks a lot" or "someone who is shy". Right? Wrong. The common misconceptions people who're extroverts or introverts can be attributed to the false picture society paints about these terms. We're led to believe that an introverted person is a regular mouse-type who hides in dark corners and only comes out when necessary. We're inclined to think that extroverts are 'overbearing' and 'insensitive' steam trains that run over anyone or anything that stands in their way. This is simply not true!

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The truth about ticks...

What are psychometric assessments? Why do we use these and who uses these?

All over the world, when you apply for a job you can now expect to be asked to complete some sort of personality assessment by ticking a few boxes on a piece of paper. More and more companies have started using methods like personality assessments, ability tests and the good old IQ test to help them decide on the best candidate for the job. But are these tests valid? Do they really measure what they say they do and how well?  How can these tests benefit you as a job-seeker? And how can the recruiting company benefit from psychometric assessments in the long run?

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How to Make the Most of your Interns

Interns add value and offer a fresh perspective. If you scoffed at that statement, you may be of the opinion that interns are only useful for making photocopies or making coffee. Many companies view interns as such. An intern is usually qualified and has the capacity and ability to perform effectively within their role, however their inexperience may be viewed as an inconvenience.  However, the purpose of an internship is to equip an individual with the relevant skills, training and exposure to the company with the aim of developing employees who can add value and contribute to the attainment of the company's goals. 

Gaining a competitive advantage in the workplace is the priority of any and all organisations. Organisations that are not utilising all of their human resources, including interns, in the most efficient way possible, are throwing away valuable time, money and skills which are crucial in gaining a competitive advantage.

Interns may feel unsettled, nervous and unsure of themselves when they start in the world of work. In order to maximise the value of the internship process for both the intern and the organisation, the following are suggestions from the first hand experience of two interns in a consulting firm.

Induction & Onboarding

A scheduled induction programme is beneficial. On the interns' first day, meeting the other members of the team, whether or not they will work closely, is helpful in making them feel welcomed and included.

The induction programme may include:

• Icebreakers

It is important that interns get to know the team. Allocate time for the intern to get to know the people they will be working with. The ice breakers can also be used to convey the organisation's values and culture. For example: An ice breaker exercise whereby the individuals of the team stand up in response to their agreement with statements such as: "I am religious" or "I am a parent". The responses to statements such as these may aid an intern in better understanding what is appropriate/inappropriate in the organization, as well as who may share similar interests to them. These statements can be used in amongst other funny statements that may be used as conversation starters.

• Clarity is power!

Roles and responsibilities should be made clear so that interns understand precisely what is expected of them and what they are responsible for in the team. Outline and clarify the contracts, as well as policies and practices with your interns. It is also important that they are given the opportunity to ask any questions and receive clarity on anything they are uncertain of. Be approachable.

• Equip your interns

Interns should be trained on any skills or programmes that they need to fulfill their job tasks. In training, it is best to assume the interns are unfamiliar with the programme or skill and thus train them in a very detailed manner. If the intern already has an understanding of the content of the training programme the intern can always advise the trainer on the level of detail they require. This may assist the intern's training as they do not feel they have to ask silly questions. This also applies in terms of informal office "rules" such as the manager's favourite coffee mug or how to use the scanner.

Employee Involvement

Interns may experience difficulties that limit their learning potential as a result of the attitude of other employees. A smooth introduction and learning process may be aided by preparing current employees that an intern will be joining the team. Although, some employees may perceive the intern as an inconvenience, keeping them from their own work, if employees are told what is expected of them in including and training the intern, the intern may be valuable to the organisation sooner. They will be equipped to help with the work rather than needing help in completing their work.

Meaningful work

Just as with any other employee, it is important that the intern feels that their contributions are valued. Accordingly, interns may feel trusted when given work that has relevance and that they and their manager view as important. This can also be conveyed to the intern by giving them some autonomy in their job tasks. Although interns are inexperienced and the manager may not feel they are ready to trust them to make their own decisions just yet, allowing the intern to decide on the format of a document or asking their opinion in relation to an important project makes their work feel more meaningful. If they perceive their work as meaningful, the intern may work more productively as they are committed and willing to make an effort.

 Follow-up

The internship process may be improved by allowing time for feedback and follow-up sessions with the intern. Open communication should be emphasised as this provides the platform for the interns to approach the managers and address any issues that may be hampering their learning. It is also important for the manager to convey genuine concern, as well as support. The feedback session will allow the intern to address any problems they may be experiencing, as well as identify any areas in which they need more assistance. These sessions also allow the manager to give the intern feedback regarding their contributions thus far. The manager may also utilise these sessions to provide the intern with guidance on how to improve their contributions. These sessions also convey to the intern that the manager views them as valuable and provides them with an idea of their progress through the eyes of the manager.

Using these suggestions may assist the organisation in making the most of their intern and the internship process. They provide the intern with the opportunity to learn and develop their skills and abilities in an environment that facilitates learning according to the company's values and performance requirements. This process can be used to ultimately benefit the organisation as the intern may be molded into an ideal prospective member of the organisation.

Guidelines for getting started:

• The purpose of the intern induction is to welcome, prepare and equip the intern to begin their work tasks and fit into the company culture
• Current employees should be prepared for the onboarding of the intern and they should be aware of and accountable for fulfilling their duties such as training the intern, setting up the intern's office space and so on
• Employees should be open and receptive to answering questions posed by the intern
• The work that interns are required to do should gradually become more important and meaningful as their skills develop. This conveys trust in their abilities and reassurance that they are performing at the required level
• Following up with interns reassures them of their performance and provides them with pointers on where and how to improve


TotalTalentSolved aspires to be the global market leader in empowering clients to manage their HR life cycle. This is achieved through our belief in exceptional customer service, innovation, quality and commitment.

TotalTalentSolved provides organisations with online talent management solutions that are customised to any business requirement. Our products enhance the effectiveness of decisions in areas of recruitment, selection, performance management, employee development, succession planning and promotion processes. These solutions will enable your organisation to make strategic decisions with confidence, by providing the organisation with certainty regarding the employee lifecycle. These solutions are a means by which your organisation can improve their onboarding, recruitment, selection, development, succession planning, goal tracking and performance management processes.

Throughout all projects, we work hand-in-hand with our clients to ensure that they derive maximum value from our solutions. Our outputs are precise as well as functional and we configure our solutions to meet our client’s operational requirements.


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