Under no circumstances are businesses allowed to employ any person without the necessary documentation to work in place. It is illegal to employ a foreigner who is not in possession of a valid working permit and passport. The employment of foreigners in South Africa is regulated by the Immigration Act 13 of 2002 (as amended). Section 38 of the Immigration Act provides that no person shall employ an illegal foreigner or a foreigner whose status does not authorise him or her to be employed by such person. This means that the employee must be in possession of a valid passport/ID and have the necessary working permits required in South Africa.

In terms of section 38(2) of the Immigration Act, a duty is placed on an employer to make an effort, in good faith, to ensure that no illegal foreigner is employed and to ascertain the status or citizenship of the person employed. This means that it will remain your responsibility to verify whether the documents provided, are in fact legal. You can contact Department of Home Affairs in your area to verify passport and permit details.

Members need to implement an adequate recruitment system and procedure to ensure that all employees provide a copy of their ID, passport and/or working permit in order to ensure various aspects, such as whether the employee is a legal or illegal foreigner through establishing whether the documents are valid and legal or not. Another important factor that should be covered by this procedure is employee’s age. Under no circumstances can an employee appoint or allow any child under the age of 15 to engage in any form of labour. Where young workers are concerned, the business must adhere to the requirements as set out by law regarding working conditions for employees aged 15 to 17.