Remote work visa is a blessing for the hospitality industry – expert

A remote worker at a restaurant. Picture: Supplied

A remote worker at a restaurant. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 27, 2024


The South African government’s gazetting of a new set of immigration regulations that would allow remote workers who earn more than R1 million per year to work in South Africa for up to three years, has huge potential economic benefits for the country.

This was according to Marc Wachsberger, the CEO of The Capital Hotels, Apartments and Resorts group, who described this move as “fantastic news, especially as our industry begins to return to our pre-pandemic numbers.”

He explained that there are roughly 35 million remote workers worldwide with an estimated economic value of more than R1.5 trillion per year.

“This new law will allow us to compete for that slice of the pie,” he believes.

The hospitality expert highlighted that the long-awaited remote work visa is a blessing for a hospitality industry that is kicking back into gear after a few difficult years.

“South Africa is an attractive proposition to international workers. South Africa’s weak rand is incredibly alluring to many remote workers, especially those coming from Europe, North America and China.”

“To take advantage of this, multiple stakeholders in the industry have geared their operations to cater to them,” said Wachsberger.

He noted that The Capital Hotels, Apartments and Resorts Group offers regular international travellers the chance to lease long-term serviced apartments for six-month spells.

“The beauty of serviced apartments is that they come fully furnished, equipped with a kitchen, living and dining area, bedroom, bathroom and work desk.”

“The majority of the hotels also offer workspaces in the public areas, including boardrooms and meeting spaces,” he said.

Wachburger added that much like a hotel guest, a serviced apartment guest has access to all the amenities that the hotel has to offer, such as the gym, spa and pool, making this a cost-effective solution for the long stay traveller.

“For internationals, long stay leases are great because they give them the chance to experience the country like a local. That benefits us all because they get more of a chance to participate in our local economy.”

Wachsberger also noted Statistics South Africa data which highlighted that the current unemployment rate is 32.9%.

He said that tourism has the ability to put a major dent in that number as the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Economic Impact Report showed that South Africa’s tourism and hospitality industry could create as many as 800 000 jobs in the next decade.

The hospitality expert added that by helping to accelerate the industry’s growth, the remote work visa could further increase that number and subsequently help thousands of South Africans put food on the table.

“Implementation is always a concern, but we are pleased that government has taken this step. Now it is up to us service providers to show the world why South Africans are so fiercely in love with their country,” said Wachsberger.