There is a long to-do list when employing a foreigner, but heed the following factors to consider when hiring foreign workers right at the start and you will already have taken a huge step towards successfully welcoming that new employee from abroad.
The most important thing you must realise right from the start is that your timeline and that of the Department of Home Affairs is highly unlikely to correlate.
You might need an employee in a month’s time, but Home Affairs can take up to a year to finalise work visas.
This is certainly the case for general work visas and even some critical skills visas.
Once you’re cognisant of this discrepancy in timelines, you’ll be able to plan better. This puts you in a much better position to deliver on company objectives.
You don’t have to be an expert on South African immigration law (that’s why you have us, after all), but you can make things a lot easier on yourself if you know the basics.
With ‘the basics’ we actually mean the most important requirements, because those are the requirements that will play a huge role in the outcome of a visa application.
Let’s again take the general work visa as an example. Here the main requirement is simple to remember but absolutely vital to implement – you must prove that you couldn’t find a South African to fill the advertised position.
Talk your client manager about what the main requirements are for each visa type or call the office if you’re not doing business with us yet.
Cultural and language differences
Your new foreign worker will have to integrate into a new country, a new way of doing things and perhaps even get used to a new language.
This obviously presents challenges, not only for your prospective employee but also for you and the company.
You can make it easier on both sides by implementing cultural training. This could speak to both South African and company culture. Perhaps the foreign employee could even present on their culture themselves.
As for language, always make sure that your new employee understands everything that has been shared with them, whether spoken or written. For example, company conduct rules and meetings the employee is involved in.
Here’s a bonus tip for once your employee has been welcomed to the office – check in on a regular basis for at least the first six months. You’ll be made aware of issues you’re foreign employee is experiencing quickly and be able to do something about the situation before it becomes an insurmountable problem.