Government has with immediate suspended extension of conditional work permits until the system was re-organised to eliminate abuse.
Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kampyongo says work permits given to expatriates were brought in by investors to train Zambians hence the halt.
ZANIS reports that Mr. Kampyongo says the process had been abused as some ‘ unscrupulous ‘ Zambians connived with some investors beyond the stipulated period of the permits.
A Committee has since been put in place to re-organise to ensure that the abuse of the permits was eradicated.
The Minister said this in Pretoria, South Africa when he addressed diplomatic staff.
Mr. Kampyongo said the measure was meant to increase the availability of employment opportunities and empower Zambians who were able to take-up positions that had been unduly awarded to expatriates.
“ The renewal of work permits for expatriates would remain suspended while a framework that would benefit Zambians was being devised, “ said the minister.
He affirmed and is determined that the decision is observed in ensuring that there were no more excuses from companies to have their expatriates handover positions to their understudies after the conditional period expired.
Mr Kampyongo said he has had prior consultative meetings with various stakeholders before the decision was finally made.
He directed that officers enforce it for the betterment of the Zambian people.
“We have talked about empowering Zambians for a long time and it’s now time we were practical. We must walk the talk. It is so unfortunate that we’ve had some Zambians colluding with investors and in the process disadvantaging skilled Zambians,” the Minister sounded.
This is contained in a statement issued today by Press Secretary at the Zambian High Commission in South Africa,Nicky Shabolyo.
Meanwhile, The Minister has disclosed that President Edgar Lungu has constituted a new Citizenship Board mandated to start looking at processing of applications for dual citizenship.
Mr. Kampyongo said following inclusion of the Dual Citizenship clause in the new Republican Constitution, appropriate amendments have been made to the Act governing this provision so that it could be operationalized while procedures were being worked on.
He said a Statutory Instrument to this effect will be issued soon.
Mr. Kampyongo said priority would be given to Zambians who had lost their citizenship by virtue of acquiring citizenship of other countries through various ways such as marriage or birth.
“We are now set to start looking at applications and have come up with procedures for this process which we will share with all our mission abroad as well as other stakeholders,” he said.
The Minister further announced that Government has introduced a new digitalized issuance system of national registration card (NRC) to be piloted in Lusaka, Chongwe, Kafue and Chilanga districts.
The new system requires NRC applicants to input their biometric data and stored at a central computerized location.
He said the aim was to turn the National Registration Office into a reservoir and a national data collection Centre which will take stock of all citizens’ statistics.
He said the new system once fully implemented would help deal with weak security features on various Zambian identity documents.
On the common between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the minister revealed that a new visa, known as the Kaza UNIVISA has been introduced to allow tourists to travel with a single document in the neighboring countries adding that this was pegged at US$50.
The Kaza UNIVISA project had been piloted prior to introduction and the two countries were satisfied that this was one of the tools through which tourism could be marketed.
In another development, the Minister has taken a swipe at Mazhandu Bus Services management for allegedly exhibiting lack of seriousness in observing safety measures.
He said Company has experienced a lot of road traffic accidents in the last few months when other transporters such as Euro Bus Services which has been in operation for a longer period have had far less road traffic accidents incidences.
Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba commended Mr. Kampyongo for finding time to brief staff on policy developments in his ministry.
Mr. Mwamba said there have been a lot of immigration issues affecting Zambians in South Africa and that the meeting with diplomatic staff was timely.