South Africa joins Seychelles, Mauritius to offer skilled remote workers digital nomad visas

April 4, 2024
2 min read
South Africa visa passport
  • The South African government has signed its digital nomad visa regulations into law, marking a significant step towards issuing digital nomad visas to foreigners.
  • Skilled remote workers can obtain a digital nomad visa, allowing them to live in the country for a set time. However, the visa requires a minimum salary of R1,000,000 (~$53,000.
  • According to the law, foreign employees who work in South Africa for less than six months are eligible for an income tax exemption. However, this development must be reflected in the country's current tax legislation.

With this move, South Africa joins other African countries, including Cape Verde, Mauritius, the Seychelles (Workation Retreat Programme), and Namibia, to offer digital nomad visas. 

A digital nomad visa is a visa that allows remote workers to stay in a foreign country for a period that exceeds the validity of standard tourist visas. Applicants for digital nomad visas are eligible for the same benefits as residents, such as healthcare and education.

In February 2024, the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) invited the public to provide feedback on proposed changes to the country's immigration laws. The document proposes granting digital nomad visas and a point-based system for assessing work visas. Following the deadline of March 29, 2024, the government has now signed the regulations into law.

The new regulation targets highly skilled individuals, particularly those in the technology sector, who want to live in South Africa while working for a foreign company.

According to a report, no changes were observed between the draft and the official document, implying that public feedback was not considered.

Other concerns include the country's pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax system, which requires foreign companies to register and comply. Furthermore, the proposed amendments to the Copyright Bill may pose a challenge for digital nomads in software development because they jeopardise copyright protection. 

South Africa hopes that the digital nomad visa will help to boost its economy and tech pool. Aside from individual tech talent, the country's tech startups have steadily received funding since 2015. In 2021, 89 startups collectively secured more than $336 million 

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