Key Points:

  • The draft green paper correctly rejects the misconception of the labour market as a cake of fixed size that needs to be protected from foreigners.
  • It also recognises the importance of immigration in reducing South Africa’s skills shortage. This spirit, however, is not carried through to the policy proposals as the paper worries about ‘unacceptable competition for jobs’.
  • The notion that a liberalised immigration regime should be delayed until the countries of the region have similar income levels is both incorrect and ill-advised.
  • CDE’s greatest concern lies in the feasibility of their implementation: The Department of Home Affairs will have to simultaneously transform itself, establish the categorisation of skills required in the labour market, regulate migrant labour quotas, sanction employers who use unregistered cross-border workers, apply a points system of skilled immigration and attempt to control the entry of large numbers of unregistered migrants.
  • The Draft Green Paper in International Migration was published by the Department of Home Affairs for information and comment on May 30, 1997

Op-ed: Unworkable and costly…, Ann Bernstein, Crossings,