SKILLED FOREIGN NATIONALS IN SOUTH AFRICA: 5 AREAS TO REASSESS BEFORE STARTING WORK

Sunny shores, diverse cultures and vibrant people, are some of the features that make South Africa a desired destination for skilled foreign nationals.

Karin Vorster

Karin Vorster
Financial Advisor

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With the world experiencing an international shift of skillsets, the so-called ‘brain-drain’ has created a wealth of opportunities for professionals or entrepreneurs who have their sights set on South Africa.

The Department of Home Affairs have vowed to fast-track applications for critical skills work permits for those with the necessary qualifications, sometimes without requiring an official offer of employment. However, if you aim to establish a business in South Africa, you will need to apply for a business permit. As you are finalising your applications, it is also the perfect time to re-evaluate your risk cover protection and investment portfolio.

While there are international cover and investment options available for expatriates, they seldom provide the necessary security for you and your family. Here are 5 areas to reassess before starting your work in a foreign country:

1. Health Care

Whether you are working in South Africa as a doctor, a teacher or a business executive, you cannot escape the reality of accident or injury. If you are travelling with your family, medical aid cover takes precedence. The health of you or your family while abroad, should always be considered from the viewpoint of the country you are in. To get peace of mind that you and your family are covered for emergency medical procedures while you are resident in South Africa, consult a medical aid provider who can assist with cover for expatriates.

2. Short-term insurance

This type of insurance provides cover for vehicles, electronic devices, household goods, and more. With the potential trials of adjusting to a new country, not to mention the notable crime rate, this could be the most important type of cover for expatriates in South Africa. As this type of insurance depends in large part on the individual and the items insured, it is best to consult a short-term insurance specialist to advise you on the best solutions available for you.

3. Life cover

One element that often gets overlooked is the need for life cover. Cover areas for death, disability, and dreaded disease, are the more prominent focus points to consider when working as a foreign national in South Africa. While you might encounter exclusions on certain conditions or loaded premiums for others, it is best to find the optimal cover package that will suit your needs.

The biggest advantage to having life cover or risk protection in South Africa, is the fact that you will be in South Africa at the time of needing it. It will pay out in South African currency, in your South African account, which will offer you liquidity while you are dealing with the cause of the claim. It is, therefore, imperative to consult a financial services provider with experience in assisting skilled foreign nationals working in South Africa with their risk cover or investment plans.

4. Income protector

As a business owner or qualified professional working in South Africa, there is no better form of security than protecting your income. In the event of an emergency where you are left unable to earn your regular monthly salary, an income protector can provide you with the necessary funds required to sustain you and your family until you can fully return to your work.

Having cover or investments in the country where you are living and working in, can eliminate potential delays in getting immediate assistance when you need it most. At the point of submitting an insurance claim or needing an emergency operation, you do not want to struggle with obtaining approvals from your service provider.

5. Investments

Skilled foreign nationals are often on the lookout for flexible and tax efficient investment vehicles to store funds in. The country they find themselves in usually offer the most financially beneficial investment options, especially if the company they work for contributes towards their retirement savings or the country allows for tax relief through a Double Taxation Agreement.

In circumstances where the employer-employee engagement becomes a long-term one, or the individual is accompanied by his family, then it starts making sense to look at investing in South African property. Buying a house, much like moving to a new country, can be stressful, but the benefits of not having rental obligations while enjoying the potential growth benefits of an asset, can contribute immensely towards your saving goals.

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