On the 2nd of February, 2022, the South African minister of home affairs, pursuant to Section 19(4) of the South African Immigration Act of 2002 (Act No. 13 of 2022), signed the newly gazetted critical skill list into law. Under this new list, 101 new critical skill categories were recognised and additional details like qualification, steps and professional bodies needed for approval, were provided for.
The particular category that is of interest to Gaming/Esports talents, is the number 79 category on Multimedia Specialists.
The description of a multimedia specialist, according to the list, is as follows:
“Creates and manipulates computer animation, audio, video and graphic image files into multimedia programs to produce data and content for information kiosks, multimedia presentations, web sites, mobile telephone resources, electronic gaming environments, e-commerce and e-security solutions, and entertainment and education products”.
The above description of a multimedia specialist is one that expressly covers the electronic gaming and entertainment space in general. This translates to mean that, talents such as animators, UI/UX designers, video editors, content creators etc, are classified as critical skilled workers.
In addition to the above, the new list also stipulates certain rules that should be followed, before talents can obtain a visa under this list, and they are as follows:
- Minimum Qualification: The list lays out a minimum qualification of Bachelor’s degree or an advanced diploma (NQF level 7).
- Unlike the previous list, this new critical skill visa is not one for job-seekers. All applications must be accompanied by an offer of employment from employers who are verifiable, and are in good standing with the Department of Employment and Labor.
- Verification of qualification by the South African Qualification Authority/ professional body, council or board recognised by the South African Qualification Authority, according to Section 13(1)(0) of the National qualifications framework act.
- According to the directive on the implementation of the critical skill list, applications that have post-qualification experience, must be accompanied by an additional proof of vetted working experience by reputable institutions such as MIE
- All other requirements have been outlined according to Section 19(4) of the South African Immigration Act and the information can be found at the following website: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/scarce-skills-work-permits
Asides from the description of a multimedia specialist, gaming talents have a wide net to cast, when applying for a particular critical skill category. Such descriptions include: multimedia designer, developer programmer, software developer etc.
The use of the word “Electronic Gaming” in describing a multimedia specialist, is what makes it unique to Gaming/Esports talents. However, the aspect of verification by professional bodies, is one that might seem unclear, as there is no express provision of a body for electronic gaming, under the professional bodies list.
It seems that in the absence of a professional body, a relevant Government department can fill that vacuum.
This new list will serve as a massive boost to the ever-growing Gaming/Esports industry in South Africa. Talents looking to get a visa via this list, must go through the checklist, and ensure that they have all of the requirements stipulated, and if need be, engage the services of recognised immigration agents.