Integration of skilled immigrants into the hospitality sector in South Africa: an opportunity blind spot?

22 Aug 2018

Given the dearth of skilled professionals in South Africa, immigrants present opportunities for South African firms which have been in dire need of skilled workforce. South Africa continues to experience massive unemployment which currently sits at 26.7%. This begs the question: how do natives perceive skilled immigrants? Researches have barely looked at this question rather they have concentrated on reasons for scarce skills and the emergent political conundrums. This study brings some value especially against the backdrop of the increasing xenophobia and wanton attacks of African immigrants in South Africa. The hospitality industry is one that enjoys massive numbers of workforce - skilled and unskilled. So, this study examines the perception of employers of skilled immigrants and tries to understand whether they are valuable or not. This will help both practitioners and government to start examining other ways of curbing xenophobia within South African townships and possibly bring about new ways of looking at diversity within the workplace. The study is conducted using qualitative means. Data were collected through personalised interviews between the researchers and hospitality practitioners. Findings firstly reveal the significance of skilled workforce which often are available from immigrants. It must also be noted that African immigrants are happy to find work and are more likely to settle for lower wages. A major implication is that labour law applications may need some urgent review owing to what we suspect are its poor application in relation to African immigrants.