Employees who are foreign nationals must be in possession of a valid passport/ID, and the necessary work permits required in South Africa before they may work for a South African business. It is illegal to employ a foreigner who does not have a valid work 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 stipulates that no person may employ an illegal foreigner and places a duty on the employer to determine the status or citizenship of the person employed. This means that management will remain responsible for verifying that the documents provided are legal.

Producers must have a recruitment system in place to ensure that all employees provide a copy of their ID, passport, and work permit to confirm various aspects, such as:

  • Is the employee a legal foreigner who has the necessary documentation in place?
  • Until when are the permit and passport valid?
  • Is the employee’s age suitable for work and in accordance with legislation? It is important to remember that an employee cannot employ or allow any child under the age of 15 to engage in any form of labour.
  • Where young workers are involved, the business must comply with the requirements set by law regarding working conditions for employees aged 15 to 17.

Contact the Department of Home Affairs in your area to verify passport and permit details or use other programmes that can assist with this verification process. For more information on the employment of foreigners or refugees, please visit: https://www.gov.za/documents/immigration-act.