In 2017 Andrew Maraidza was the first a SAIBA member to be issued with a Practice License in Immigration Engagements, and has seen his accounting practice grow steadily since then.
“I highly recommend this for accountants who want to grow their practice and expand their sources of income,” he says. “I decided to become an immigration specialist because I could see the need that was out there.”
Andrew has an accounting practice in King Williamstown int eh Eastern Cape that employs seven permanent staff and eight interns. But as a Zimbabwean national, he who knows what it is like to navigate the bureaucratic maze of immigration. “Like most immigrants to this country, I found it difficult to work my way through all the legal requirements, because you are dealing with the Department of Home Affairs, the banks and various other regulatory bodies. And you cannot easily learn what is required from the internet. I find people immigrating here need guidance and want to be able to speak to someone who understands their needs and their plans.”
Maraidza, of the firm Andrew and Associates Accountants, is currently busy with a Bachelor of Science Honours in Applied Accounting at Oxford Brookes University (OBU) in UK.
As a licensed specialist in immigration, Andrew is allowed to represent clients seeking to immigrate to SA, and this involves issuing factual findings on behalf of clients to the various regulatory bodies.
He says that SAIBA’s self study course, which is a 30 hour online assessment and a system-generated licence practice certificate, was easy. “And so was the exam which took me 20 minutes to write,” he says.
Members complete an online form, get invoiced, access materials and once payment is confirmed, log in details are emailed to the relevant member.
Those coming through the normal immigration route must to able to prove that they earned R5m over the previous year, or they have new capital equipment equivalent to R5m.
He expects to quadruple his income now that he can render immigration engagement services, even though it entails a lot of work, including certification of a business visa applicant’s cash investments and contributions in the country; staff information as required by the department of labour; registration with SARS, the UIF, COIDA, CIPC and relevant professional bodies; submission of financial statements and supplying proof of investments.
Andrew studied in Zimbabwe and completed his accounting degree at the University of Zimbabwe before arriving in SA in 2008. As an accountant in practice, he decided to join SAIBA and enjoy the benefits of the designation, and the networking and training opportunities it provides.
In addition to being an licensed immigration specialist and accountant in practice, Andre is also a licensed tax technician with SA Revenue Services.
His practice has grown in leaps and bounds, and today his clients include government departments, private companies, schools, non-profit organisations and individuals. A lot of new business comes from word of mouth referrals. On the immigration side, Andrew has a steady flow of clients, many of them referred to him from friends and associates abroad.
Why did he choose to settle in King Williamstown? “I like the history of the town and the Eastern Cape. This is the area where Steven Biko and Nelson Mandela come from, so it has a rich history and there is not too much competition for me down here, to be honest.”
Most of his work involves CIPC (Companies and Intellectual Property Commission) and statutory compliance, preparing financial statements, and tax submissions. “People and companies need finance to acquire assets, such as cars and houses, and for that they need up to date financial statements. this area.”
The immigration practice is driven by his passion for helping others navigate the legal barriers to entry. There is another motivation: people who bring money to SA assist in boosting economic growth and job creation.
“I have to ensure that their business and labour plans are up to date – we can motivate applications based on these plans, and get the bank to verify the information is correct.
Wealth and tax management is a spin-off of the immigration business. Immigrants who bring money to SA need advice on how to preserve and grow their wealth.
For Andrew, the SAIBA Practice License in Immigration Engagements has opened doors of opportunity that were not there before. “You’re dealing with Somalians, Pakistanis, Zimbabweans, people of different backgrounds – they like to deal with an individual directly when trying to immigrate here. And there will always be a need for this.”
You can reach Andrew at: Silvertax.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up for the SAIBA Practice License in Immigration Engagements here: https://saiba.org.za/certification/