14 July 2017

South Africa: Degrees Are Useless Without a Work Permit

Photo: The Yale Globalist
Outside the Department of Home Affairs Office in Cape Town (file photo).
analysis

I am an economic migrant from Zimbabwe and I have the qualifications to compete with the best South Africa has to offer. If only I could legally get my hands on a work permit.

Almost a decade ago I came to South Africa to study and, truth be told, to escape the worsening economic situation in Zimbabwe. My home country had long been reeling from its chaotic land programme; the economic situation was already going downhill consistently and rapidly. As a young person the future at home looked bleak and South Africa offered the promise of a better life.

Three degrees later - the highest being a Master's qualification - I am back to square one. I have studied for six consecutive years in South Africa, and in the process I have learnt a lot about the culture, the people, and the politics.

Since I last completed my Master's degree in 2015, I have received numerous job offers but have been unable to accept them. This is not because I do not want them or that the prospective employers don't want me, but because I do not possess a work permit.

I have considered "buying" permits, but the consequences could...

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