A broad cross-section of ICT and networking skills are among those in the provision Occupations in High Demand (OIHD) list issued by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

The draft list was gazetted on 17 August, and comments close on 7 September.

The list will serve as the basis for the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) updated critical skills list; and will also inform education and training directions.

The quantitative list published consists of 189 occupations, of which 79 still need to be validated. Comments are invited regarding whether these occupations should remain on the final OIHD list.

ICT jobs on the preliminary list include: ICT project manager; data management manager; IT manager; information systems director; ICT account manager; ICT Business development manager; ICT sales representative; ICT business analyst; data scientist; software developer; programmer analyst; developer programmer; multimedia specialist; web developer; applications programmer; computers quality assurance analyst; database designer and administrator; systems administrator; computer network and systems engineer; network analyst; and ICT security specialist.

The new critical skills list was expected to be released in April 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic delayed this process, explains Xpatweb’s Marisa Jacobs.

“The significance of the list is that it will form the basis for the updated critical skills list by the DHA which contains all the skills deemed in short supply in South Africa. Thus, any person who fits the criteria contained therein may qualify for a Work Visa, under the Critical Skills Visa category, as per the Immigration Act.”

Xpatweb is running its fourth annual critical skills survey among local businesses, including JSE-listed companies and large multinational groups. Companies are encouraged to submit their inputs before 4 September on the skills they struggle to recruit locally.

“It is important that employers are represented with a submission and inputs on any occupations not included on the list and the survey results will form the basis of this submission,” says Jacobs.

“It’s a tight deadline, but the response has been very positive. Survey respondents grew by 30% last year and we’re expecting an even greater spike this year as the local business community – across all sectors – are eager to give input on the government gazette that will determine which foreign skills local businesses can employ under the critical skills visa category.”