For any employee starting at a new company, worry about the type of environment they will enter into, and the culture of the company is a natural concern. As a new employee, only being at Relocation Africa for a month thus far, I was pleasantly taken aback at the measures put into place to maintain a healthy work environment.

In the boardroom was an illustration of a blue summer’s sky, covering the entire length of the wall. While on the floor was astroturf grass that immediately made me want to take off my shoes and sit crossed legs while sipping on a juice. I immediately felt calm walking in, and any remnants of nerves completely vanished when I was greeted by all the kind faces. I was invited to help build a two-thousand-piece puzzle that lay sprawled out on the boardroom table, and advised that if ever I felt I needed a break, I could escape into the boardroom to continue building the puzzle. I was swarmed by the invitations that came stringing in; a standing desk I could use if my back ever hurt from sitting at my desk for too long, a garden that I could go and pick herbs or lettuce from whenever I felt like it, a radio that I could adjust and listen to the music I liked, and the thing I loved the most; bottomless coffee at any time of the day!

Needless to say, it didn’t take me very long to become comfortable in such a welcoming environment. When important matters were discussed, I was asked for my opinion, and when I stated it, I was listened to. As a newcomer, I felt heard and seen. I felt like my opinions mattered. I felt like I was valued, and adding value to a great cause.

During my induction, our Human Resource Generalist made it a point to emphasise exactly what her job entails, that the resources at the company are human beings. Human resources are not machines, or tools, or inanimate objects. Employees are people, with lives, problems, priorities, worries, and trauma.

In that moment it all made sense to me. A great company cannot exist without great employees turning its wheels. And in order to have great employees, you not only need to encourage them to BE great, but also remind them that they ARE great.

From the moment I walked into the doors of Relocation Africa to start my first day of work, having just graduated and fresh out of university, I’ve learnt something new every day. And the learning hasn’t stopped since. Even at the end of the days that I feel exhausted after all the work that I had done, I leave the company’s premises looking forward to returning the next morning.

After working here for a month I’ve had the privilege of participating in most of the company’s regular team building activities. I was introduced to a tradition called ‘’Wacky Wednesday,’’ and initially hoped that the Steers we’d get our burgers from would be Halaal…

However, that’s not what Wacky Wednesdays at Relocation Africa is about. Although, this tradition was not at all disappointing when I participated in what Joy Jackson, our HR Generalist, had put together to ensure that everyone in the office takes a break from their work to lift their spirits. Wacky Wednesdays are an opportunity to be fun, crazy, weird, and even insightful and informative. It’s an opportunity for overwhelmed employees to get away from their laptops and share a laugh with the rest of the team.

Similar to Wacky Wednesdays, the company also hosts a monthly Wellness workshop, which typically lasts for an hour and a half. During this time, employees connect, engage, encourage, and educate one another. At my first Wellness Workshop on Wednesday the 26th of April, I witnessed first-hand what can only be described as the reason for Relocation Africa’s 30 years of success.

We hear and read so much about positive working environments, how to create one, how to maintain one, how it increases productivity and all of its other benefits. Yet, I’ve hardly ever come across an employee who hasn’t complained about their job, about how they’re underpaid, about how they’re being exploited, or about the toxic traits of others in the workplace. At this point, I was certain that a positive working environment was an absolute myth. I was unsure that any company actually stuck to their ethics and values. But what I participated in on Wednesday was the personification of a positive working environment.

During the Wellness Workshop I could physically see the moods and attitudes of my colleagues lighting up.

We were asked to describe how we were feeling at the start of the workshop, and then again right at the very end of the workshop, in just one word. I said that I felt fooled at the start because I was confused as to why everyone was throwing an egg around. Apparently, having the egg meant that it’s your turn to talk. I found myself praying that I don’t embarrass myself in the presence of my new colleagues by dropping the egg and making a huge mess, only to discover that the egg was actually made of rubber. In the beginning I felt fooled, and at the end I felt satisfied with all that I had learnt.

One of my colleagues commented; ‘’I came in feeling frustrated and left feeling like my cup had been filled.’’ I personally could relate to the last part, and I am certain the rest of my colleagues can too. I entered the wellness workshop oblivious to how much fun I would have in the minutes that followed. Like everyone else, I grabbed a seat, feeling uneasy about where to sit and what to expect. It’s a strange feeling when your HR Generalist pulls you away from your work to come and have fun.

Despite the reluctancy to start, everyone gradually eased into the activity, being drawn in by the fact that what is being discussed resonates within them. This month’s topic was boundaries, something that everyone has experienced before. The conversation entailed knowing and establishing your own boundaries in order to know when your boundaries have been crossed, what the emotions are that we feel when someone crosses our boundaries, and why we may be more comfortable when we are the ones crossing another individual’s boundaries.

Everyone is guaranteed to learn something at the Wellness Workshops, whether it’s about life, their colleagues or themselves. There is an involuntary introspection that occurs, as its only natural to apply what you have learnt to your own life. This reflection and introspection are exactly the thought processes that Joy encourages.

Joy’s motivation for initiating the Wellness Workshops came out of the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. After everyone gradually started returning to the office, trying desperately to get back into the rhythm of a somewhat normal routine after enduring the trauma that the pandemic imposed, Joy noticed that everyone was still in a sombre space and decided to take it upon herself to change that. Joy tries to empower employees through these Wellness Workshops, not only in the workplace, but also in their personal lives.

She has repeatedly mentioned that, ‘’if even just one person can take even just one thing home that benefits them, even if they don’t voice it, the Wellness workshop has served its purpose.’’ She wants to promote self-awareness and encourage employees by providing insight on topics that we all might experience or even be struggling with at some point in our lives, by creating a safe space for us to talk about it.

Not only is conversation about these topics encouraged during these workshops, but it is done so while joking over and sharing chocolates and coffee. My colleagues and I took turns, in pairs, playing a game that involved clearly setting a boundary for your personal space, while the other deliberately crosses that boundary. Both parties are then asked to describe how they felt while enacting the rules of the game, thereby involuntarily being encouraged to do introspection.

I can honestly say that during this game, I learnt a lot about my colleagues and myself.

At the end, I felt happy and grateful to have the privilege to be able to laugh with my colleagues so freely. I felt like I was a part of something greater than myself and I felt eager to tackle my tasks for the day. I felt energetic, like the Wellness Workshop had given me a new zest and sense of enthusiasm to get to my desk and achieve what I had set out to achieve for that day.

On the 26th of April, at the monthly Wellness Workshop, I witnessed laughter resonate through the walls of Relocation Africa, and discovered the secret to their 30 years of success…

It’s in the way they build connections with and treat their team.


If you enjoyed this article, click on the link below to read more about the company and culture at Relocation Africa:

What Makes Relocation Africa Different


Written and Compiled by:

Joy Jackson (Ideation)

Lize-Mari Ras

Saudika Hendricks

If the company culture at Relocation Africa could be captured with a single word, we would describe ourselves as a family.

At Relocation Africa, we place emphasis on knowing and genuinely caring for each other on a personal level, having good relationships with each other, and treating one another with respect, compassion, and patience. Sharing a warm and family-like bond at the office, we prioritise creating this same bond with each of our clients. We know that a little bit of warmth and compassion can go a long way, especially in the process of making a life-altering relocation to a new country.

This is why we’ve made connecting and establishing valuable connections, the centre of the way we conduct our business.

We understand that there is an emotionally challenging side when making the decision that will shape the experience and outcome of your relocation. As a matter of fact, Relocation Africa was incorporated because of the compassion that a mother felt for others making these big transitions, a mother who found herself in a similar life-altering situation. This mother, our founder, Rose Maytham, decided to help other families by turning her passion into a business.

In 1993, Rose started Relocation Africa. Today, 30 years later Relocation Africa is not only stronger than ever but also the best relocation service provider on the entire African continent. Rose’s entrepreneurial spirit has been passed onto her daughter, Rene, who has taken over the reins since 2002.

Rene is following in her mother’s footsteps, with all the same passion and dedication. Having grown up and experienced the turmoil of relocating with her mum and sister after being forced to relocate from Zimbabwe (Rhodesia) to South Africa, René happily climbed on board with her mother to steer the business into success. Like mother and daughter, they share the same values, and have implemented these core values into the company as well. These values tie into the sincerity of the objectives with which the company was started, making Relocation Africa destined for success.

This powerful mother and daughter duo has been through and felt the exact emotions that each of the expatriates may feel during their relocation. This is why our company’s purpose is to embrace the unknown, and we encourage all our clients to do the same. You embrace the unknown while we ensure that your destination that you are relocating to is successful and fruitful.

Life happens, and while you could say that Rene’s life plans were completely thrown off course, since she initially saw a career for herself in marketing, we choose to look at it as an act of fate. While her interest in marketing was strong, her passion to help people was overwhelming. It was this passion for the relocation industry that made the transition so easy for Rene, and she hasn’t looked back on her decision since.

However, her love for marketing and other creative modes of business still exists and is evident in the business’ involvement and presence on all forms of media. Relocation Africa has a range of Blogs and Articles on their website to keep clients informed and help them in any way possible, written with the very same objectives that the company was initially started for. Rene also regularly attends conferences, workshops and meetings all over the world, representing the company – her primary passion – and tending to her interests at the same time.

This combination of passion, interests, motivation and dedication from Rene and the rest of the team at Relocation Africa’s head office is the main reason why Relocation Africa is the largest independently run destination service business in the whole of Africa. René and her team prioritise building authentic and lasting relationships with all of their clients and stakeholders as Relocation Africa understands the value that such relationships have for the future of a company in the relocation industry.

As a business who treats each of their staff and stakeholders like family members, we understand that relocating your family is a challenge that comes with a lot of stress and uncertainty, which is why we always keep each client’s unique needs and concerns at the forefront of our service delivery.

Whether you are moving to Europe or Africa the task of relocating will always pose a challenge. There will always be some unexpected hurdles you will have to overcome along the way. Depending on the culture of the country you are relocating from, you may experience more challenges and even a bit of a culture shock as you settle into Africa. It is important to be mindful of the fact that every nation and group of people have different methods of doing things, so experiencing a culture shock may be inevitable.

Cultural differences alone can be remarkably challenging, requiring individuals to make significant adjustments to adapt to the lifestyle, customs, and language of the new environment. However, at Relocation Africa, we make it our mission to prevent potentially overwhelming culture shocks by building our client’s knowledge of their locations and managing their expectations upfront so the chances of encountering unexpected surprises are minimised.

When we educate our clients, we ensure that they are properly informed about the impactful factors, the little things, and even the fun and creative aspects of the new city they will soon call their home. We take the liberty of compiling a list of things each client may need to take heed of, places they might like to visit, sights they should definitely see, and fun things to do for themselves and the whole family. For instance, we may advise our clients of the infrastructural issues in the city they are moving to, such as the problems with the reliability of the electricity supply in South Africa. In the same breath, we also enlighten our clients about the various fun, sporty, leisurely, or relaxing activities that are offered in these same cities, like paragliding from signal hill in Cape Town or swimming amongst the sharks in Durban.

Relocation Africa places emphasis on ensuring that our clients are well familiar with all the amenities available to them and all the challenges they may encounter, we highlight the good and the bad.

While Africa certainly offers many great investment opportunities, it would be ignorant to ignore the challenges that may come with it. We know, however, that the prior usually overshadows the latter as the feedback we get from clients we have previously assisted usually describes their experience as fulfilling and extremely financially rewarding.

So, Why Choose Relocation Africa?

Being around for 30 years certainly bears testament to the strong relationships embedded in the business’s culture. In our 30 years, we’ve grown, we’ve learnt, we’ve overcome obstacles, and we’ve also expanded our business according to the need of our clients. That is what is important to us, and that is what makes our service delivery excellent and reliable. Moreover, our 30 years of experience and knowledge have enabled us to turn your challenging relocation process into a hassle-free experience, allowing you to spend more time on the more important things in life.

By now you would understand that we speak from experience when we say that we know how intimidating and nerve-wracking the process of settling in can be, especially when it comes to relocating your entire life and family across the world to an unknown country. We’ve walked the road before, and by dealing with these cases every day, there is not a problem that may arise during any relocation that we have not yet solved.

We encourage and help our clients to embrace the unknown, all while equipping them with the necessary resources and knowledge to make their relocation easier. We take pride in the personal and supportive relationships that we’ve established with our clients, because we know exactly how reassuring it is to have someone who understands by your side. Our clients have the comfort of knowing that our directors, stakeholders, consultants, and staff are here to accompany them on their journey. Our aim is to create a positive, and welcoming atmosphere, one that encourages conversation and trust.

We achieve this by taking the time to get to know you, to ask you what is important to you, because what’s important to you, is important to us.

To us, our customers are more than just paying customers, our customers are family.


If you’re interested in gaining an insider’s perspective on how Relocation Africa puts their principles into action, then please click on the link below:

Achieving Wellness In the Workplace from an Intern’s Perspective


Written and Compiled by:

Lize-Mari Ras

Saudika Hendricks


New visas

In the annual performance plan for 2023/24, published in April, The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) said that the groundwork for new visas was underway. Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said that The DHA was exploring new visa categories, which includes start-up visas and remote working visas.

More recently, Bottom of FormThe DHA said they are committed to finalising the implementation of the new visa categories by the end of June 2023.

Initially, the Minister said that the current regulatory framework to introduce new visa categories did not exist and he went on to say that The DHA had no plans to change this.

However, the new visa categories has been key topics in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address for the last two years.

The Operations Vulindlela team recently submitted a comprehensive report to the President, recommending the possibility of new visa categories which would benefit the economy.

The DHA has subsequently drafted an implementation plan, in order to introduce these visas and they have confirmed that they intend to have the specific requirements for remote work visas and start-up visas detailed within the next three months. This will require the amendments of regulations 11 and 14 in the SA Immigration Regulations.

A consultation document is expected to be completed by the end of June 2023, with a whitepaper expected to be submitted to cabinet by the end of April 2024.


The DHA indicated that they will continue rolling out the e-visa system, with technology being at the centre of operations, in order to simplify and make it secure to enter and leave SA. According to The DHA, the e-visa system is in place for 14 countries. The DHA had experienced challenges as a result of slow network speeds which resulted in backlogs. However, the establishment of an e-visa hub contributed towards clearing the backlog. The DHA is planning to extend the e-visa platform to an additional 20 + non visa exempt countries.


The additional countries will include:

  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • Belarus
  • Bulgaria
  • Cuba
  • Comoros
  • Congo
  • Croatia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Indonesia
  • Ivory Coast
  • Lithuania
  • Liberia
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Niger
  • Romania
  • Senegal
  • Slovak Republic


SA is revamping the system with the aim of attracting critical skills. However, despite their efforts, they have experienced many issues, resulting in visa processing backlogs. Towards the end of March 2023, The DHA issued a circular whereby granting an automatic extension of long term visa categories if applications were still pending, while it attempts to process the backlog of visa and waiver applications, which amounts to more than 62 000.

To put the extent of the backlog into context, in 2022, The DHA aimed to have most critical skills visa applications processed within four weeks of application. However, it is estimated that they only managed to process 20% of these applications in that time. This is down from 57% in 2021. The DHA has now set a goal of having 90% of these visas processed in 2023. However, it anticipates only being able to clear the current backlog some time in 2024, which means that their goal of processing 90% of these visas in 2023, is looking unachievable.


Should you need more information, please feel free to contact our expert immigration tea by clicking on the link below:



Frequently Asked Questions on Immigration

Must a foreign national obtain a visa in order to visit SA for tourism purposes?

It depends on what passport the foreigner is travelling on, as certain passport holders are visa exempt for between 30 and 90 days.


May any foreign national work in SA?

Only if in possession of a valid and appropriate work visa.


What types of work visa categories are available to work in SA?

Intra-company transfer work visas – The foreigner is employed at a company outside SA and is being assigned to that company’s legal entity in SA for a maximum duration of 4 years.

Critical skills work visas – Foreigner qualifies in line with a category listed on the critical skills list and has an offer of employment in SA.

General work visas – The foreigner has obtained a positive recommendation from The Department of Labour in SA and has an offer of employment in SA.


If a foreigner is not visa exempt, how long will it take for a visa to be issued by the authorities outside SA?

Visitors and Study visas usually takes 1 to 5 weeks.

Work and Retirement visas usually take 8 to 10 weeks.

However, it often depends on the country of application, workload, etc.


Name two crucial requirements in order to apply for a business visa (to manage your own business)

A minimum investment amount of R5 million, unless a waiver has been issued by The Department of Home Affairs and a positive recommendation from The Department of Trade and Industry.


If a foreign national gives birth in SA whilst on a temporary residence visa, does their child qualify for SA citizenship?

The child will qualify to apply for SA citizenship, once they attain the age of 18 and on condition that they have resided in SA since birth.


If a foreign national is at retirement age, may they apply for a temporary retirement visa in SA?

Only if they are able to prove a minimum monthly retirement income of R37 000,00.


If a foreign national needs to extend a temporary residence visa whilst in SA, how long in advance should this be done?

An application for an extension must be submitted at least 60 days prior to the current visa expiry date.


If a foreign national is in SA on a visitor’s stay/visa, may they change to a different visa category from within SA?

No, unless the foreigner is married to a SA citizen or SA permanent resident.


If a foreign national is in SA on a visitor’s stay/visa, may they extend their visitor stay/visa?

Yes, if the foreign national was granted a 90-day visitors stay, they must apply for an extension,  at least 60 days prior to the current visa expiry. If they were granted a 30-day visitor visa, they must apply for an extension at least 10 days prior to the current visa expiry date.


What is the maximum duration that a visitor’s visa may be extended for?

90 days.


May a foreign national apply for a study visa to study in SA?

Yes, as long as they are in possession of a letter of acceptance from a study institution in SA, which study institution must be registered with The Department of Education.


If a foreign national is granted a work visa for SA, may their foreign spouse work?

No, the foreign spouse must qualify and apply for a work visa within their own right.


How long are work and study visas issued for?

It depends on the duration of studies which will be stipulated in the study institution letter, or the duration of employment which will be stipulated in the offer of employment.


Should you need any additional information, please click on the link below: