Angolan ex-refugees given chance to apply for residency in South Africa

Angolan ex-refugees in South Africa who were given a two-year deadline in 2013 to return to their country have been given a chance to apply for residency.

According to the Legal Resources Centre (LRC)‚ the negotiated settlement allows for former Angolan refugees falling into this category to submit further documents to the Department of Home Affairs in order to attempt to regularise their stay in South Africa and apply for permanent residency.

The LRC represented Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town and a number of former Angolan refugees in litigation against the Department of Home Affairs regarding the legal status of former Angolan refugees in South Africa.

In 2013‚ Home Affairs decided that former Angolan refugees no longer needed the protection of the South African government‚ as Angola was considered politically stable. Those Angolans who had been recognised refugees in South Africa were advised to apply for a special type of visa (Angolan Cessation Process Permit) which would allow them to legally work and study in South Africa for another two years‚ while making plans to return to their country.

“Many Angolans have lived in South Africa for close to 20 years. They have created lives for themselves and raised their families in South Africa.

Source

Relocation Africa – a Brief History

A Brief History

As the New South Africa was being born and South Africa was on the world stage, Relocation Africa started in 1993 in Johannesburg, South Africa, providing homefinding services to expatriates moving into Johannesburg. In 1997 the Cape Town branch was opened and Immigration services were included into the offering to support the client’s needs and in 1999 the international payment service was incorporated to support international clients needs to transact expatriate’s payments in South Africa.

In 2000 the Relocation Africa head-office was consolidated to Cape Town and an internal web-based system was developed to support the needs of the business and facilitate the centralised head office business model. The business decided to register a sister company called Global Expatriate Management (GEM) to take over the payments services as well as starting a payroll solution for clients who had regional offices across Africa but with a centralised payroll head office in South Africa.

Africa
In 2002 we made the strategic decision to expand relocation services into Africa. The network of consultants being recruited across Africa were able to provide housing data so in 2004 GEM formalised this housing data into a formal housing survey. We now run these biannual surveys across most countries in Africa. In 2005 GEM expanded to collect cost of living data with a network of field workers across Africa.

In 2006, due to client demand, we started expanding immigration services into other African countries. Our next key step was formalising a training department within the business in 2008 – prior to that, it had been the responsibility of the account managers to recruit and train consultants. The business has grown organically over the interleading years due to some key staff who always worked above and beyond what was asked of them.

In 2013 Relocation Africa rebranded into the Relocation Africa Group incorporating GEM’s services to formalise the service offering to clients with our four divisions, being Mobility, Immigration, Research and Remuneration.

Each division has a colour, icon and animal assigned with it and we use this branding to differentiate our services.


Immigration Services

Immigration Services

Immigration

Immigration Services


Destination Services

Destination Services

Destination Services

Destination Services


Research

Research

Research

Research


Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments

Payroll & Payments


Africa is an exciting space to be working and we strive to deliver a consistent quality of service to all clients no matter where the services are delivered in Africa.

Being a cog in the machinery facilitating the development of skills across Africa is what drives the management of Relocation Africa to help upskill Africa.

GOLDweblogo_curveIn 2016 we discovered an inspiring organisation called Generation of Leaders Discovered or GOLD for short (www.goldpe.org.za). The are based in Cape Town near our head office, and they have an inspiring model which gives hope and skills to Africa’s disenfranchised youth. They identify young opinion leaders in communities and invite them to go through their program, they give them hope, give them skills and enable them to become peer educators and role models within their peer groups. The results of their programs is astonishing. Please email us if you would like to know more about GOLD and what they do.

We are currently developing an internship program with GOLD and we are building a relationship with them as what they do fits in with our philosophy of helping to develop skills across Africa.

Our Promise

Embracing the Unknown

Our Vision

Our vision is to be the preferred supplier in Africa of trusted seamless relocation services to our clients to ensure their assignees become effective employees quickly.

Our Mission

Our mission is to remain a reliable and consistent quality managed provider of a comprehensive range of services to companies moving assignees into Africa, by removing the fear of the unknown continent.

Insight into the Angola Rental Market – January 2016.


Contributed by our consultant on the ground in Luanda – Inyene Udoyen


As we all know the price of oil has gone down dramatically over the last year and our clients have expressed interest in the effect this is having on the expat rental market in Angola focussing on the following questions:

Has the demand gone down and is there currently a surplus of available properties and, if so, how has this affected the rental price?
For those expats that are in rented accommodation already; when it comes to renewals of leases, is there an opportunity there to negotiate a lower rent before renewing the contract?
Clients are expecting the rental costs to go down when the demand is not as high as it once was; is this happening or not?

Rental prices have come down and there will be a fair amount of availability soon. This month we are seeing a lot of changes in the volume of expat rentals. Many companies have either shut down completely or have cut the amount of staff drastically to cut costs. In the city prices have been coming down over the past year or so and this has sparked a lot of movement with many either renegotiating their contracts or moving to better quality accommodation for the same budget. Several major changes have affected the market:
• Introduction of 15% urban property tax (IPU) 2 years ago and consequent enforcement in companies with organized accounting meant landlords tended to put 15% on top of their original asking price.
• Recent law to limit advance payments to between 2-6 months.
• Recent law that all payment should be made in kwanzas and now only non-residents can quote in dollars in contracts.
• Recent banking restrictions locally mean that it is very hard to get dollars out of the bank even if one has deposits.
• Large gap between official exchange rate ($1:160) and actual rate at which forex can be bought ($1:300+ at bureau de change).
I mention these issues because they have affected what would be a basic drop in prices by muddying the waters somewhat. So although prices have gone down in global terms the asking prices have been affected by these issues and vary greatly. First of all for international clients who can still pay in USD outside the country we can definitely negotiate very good rates as everyone prefers this option. Payment locally in USD now does not hold as much appeal as previously as having the money in your account does not mean you can easily access it. A lot of rentals are still quoted in dollars at the official exchange rate to act as a basic hedge against the devaluing kwanza. Now there is a move to use only kwanzas but the landlords still think in dollars and not knowing where the kwanza will end up they have to take a guess and are mostly using rates somewhere between the official and reality.

Still overall rental rates are definitely down and most of our clients are renegotiating their contracts downwards and Sonangol (Sonangol is a parastatal that oversees petroleum and natural gas production in Angola. The company is responsible for the management of oil and gas reserves in Angola) has cut costs as well which means they may not approve higher costs as readily as before. This year they hope to gradually move to only referencing kwanza with no mention of dollars. Right now there is lot of activity as many companies are consolidating accommodations to save on other costs such as security and transport i.e putting all their staff in one building or complex. A lot of clients that are kwanza-rich and are here for the long-term are buying their properties rather than renting because prices are lower, people are desperate and it’s better than having the money devalue in the bank. Locals are also buying property for this very same reason.

We are also doing a lot of basic factoring now for our clients who can still pay outside the country which allows them to get a lot more out of their contracts e.g for the same price in dollars we pay the rent locally but can include whatever services they need, usually TV/internet, maid, furnishing…etc.

There is still not a surplus of new apartments in the city centre for now, but this is because there are 5-7 new buildings not on the market yet. Once these come online there will definitely be a surplus of apartments in new buildings in the city which should bring the prices down, however, given current trends their are likely to spark more consolidation with companies taking the advantage of putting their staff in new buildings to save the inherent maintenance and security costs associated with older buildings. In fact they are only empty because the owners have taken loans to build them and are angling to sell/rent them in their entirety to one entity, which until last year was a great and viable business model.

Talatona also has a reasonable amount of properties available right now and prices have come down considerably but it is still not the ghost town people expect as many have taken advantage of this dip to move in there from further out and some companies to consolidate their operations and staff dispersement around Talatona instead of the city or further out.

So to summarize:
Prices have come down about 20%.
Kwanza has devalued 16% since 1 January and is set to devalue more.
If you can pay in USD outside then prices have actually come down somewhere in the region of 40+%.
Landlords are now accepting 2-6 months payment frequency.

Angola: A relief in sight for expatriates accommodation cost?

 

Angola Housing

Written by: Jacob Kuh

One could hardly anticipate that after twenty seven years of civil war, Angola will become an expatriate destination immediately after the end of the war. The civil war shattered the country’s administration, economy and infrastructures. The country did not have some basic services and needs when the war ended in 2002. The lack of such services and needs did not deter expatriates to consider Angola as a destination.

 

The civil war prevented an entire generation from accessing education. At the end of the war, the country needed to be rebuild but locally, the man power was lacking. It is possibly why the country turned to man power importation. As such, the needed skills could be sourced outside the country to build the country’s economy that revolves around the exploitation of minerals such as oil and diamond.

 

The importation of man power came with the need for adequate accommodation for expatriates. Considering the consequences of the long civil war, Angola did not have enough “expatriate type accommodations” to satisfy expatriates’ accommodation needs. The soaring number of expatriates increased the demand for accommodation and rental prices sky rocketed.

 

In 2012, 5% increase for rental prices for the year 2013 was predicted. The increase was not only due to expatriates presence, but also to the “Angolans nouveaux riches” who sought expatriate type accommodations. The renting of up market properties by local could definitely mean a continuous increase for the coming years as the demand may keep increasing.

 

However, in 2014, a decreased was observed in the property market in Angola. Expatriate type accommodation price seems to divert from the increase curb as the 2012 data may have signalled. During 2014, 2% decrease in rental prices was registered and it is anticipated that there will be 2.5% decrease in rental prices in 2015. The construction of new properties is responsible for the decrease in rental prices.

 

The current decrease does not seem to be having an impact on expatriates housing budget. Indeed 2% of USD 20000 the price of some properties in Angola is just USD 400 and this may explain why Angola still remain the most expensive destination in Africa in general and rental accommodation in particular. Nevertheless, if we continue to have more properties coming in the rental market, rental prices may continue to shrink and this may be some relief for expatriates.

For more information on accommodation costs in Angola or other parts of Africa please contact Andrew@relocationafrica.co.za or Jacob@relocationafrica.co.za

What this clip below to get a sense of the development in Angola.