Expert work visa tips for South Africa immigration

Expert work visa tips for South Africa immigration
Expert work visa tips for South Africa immigration

Work Visa South Africa

Maybe you have been offered a job in South Africa, or have fell in love with the country and wish to immigrate here. Whatever the reason is, if you want to work in South Africa, you will need to navigate your way around the differing work visa options.

South Africa’s work visa options are not simple, they are detailed, complex and very much down to interpretation. To compound further the difficulties of applying for a work visa in South Africa, new legislation sees an ever changing landscape of regulations and different embassies and consulates applying different criteria. Expert guidance should be sought both to ascertain your eligibility for a work visa and also for the application process.

Here’s a quick way to find out if you qualify for a work visa for South Africa. Use this link and we will call you back free of charge for an instant free and non obligatory consultation.

Some background on work visa’s in South Africa

As with most countries, the visa options for South Africa are designed to strike a balance between ensuring that wherever possible jobs are filled by South Africans but also for allowing appropriately skilled foreigners to take up jobs where there are skill shortage gaps and where companies have a specific manpower need.

The Work Visa Options

South African work visa options can be split up into 1. where an application can be made initially for temporary residency and 2. where you can apply immediately for permanent residency.

Temporary Work visa options

The intra-company transfer – this particular work visa allows an employee to transfer within an affiliated, parent or sister company. In essence the applicant is moving with the same company from a location abroad to work in South Africa. Work Visa’s in this category are issued for a maximum period of two (2) years. The visa cannot be extended and permanent residency cannot be applied for.

The application criteria includes

  • An employment contract and secondment letter from the company abroad.
  • A letter from the South African company where the employee will work, confirming the transfer from the parent/affiliated company abroad. This letter should specify the occupation and capacity in which the employment will be and should also confirm that the maximum duration of employment will not exceed 2 years.

Quota Work Visa – this visa allows for certain professionals to make a work visa application without having first secured a job in South Africa. South Africa’s work visa options need to reflect the areas where there are skill shortages. In the case of a quota work visa the government has identified certain professions where there is a national skills shortage.

Those identified professions are captured onto a ‘skills shortage list’, together with a criteria for experience and qualifications. If a foreigners profession, skills and experience are on this skills shortage list an application can be made for a quota work visa.

The application should be made abroad and if successful is ‘triggered on entry into South Africa’.

This trigger allows the quota work visa holder a period of three months (90 days) in which to secure a job offer. Upon securing a job offer, the applicant must provide confirmation of this to the Department of Home Affairs.

As the quota work visa is an open ended visa (that remains valid for as long as the individual is employed in that area of profession), there is a requirement that on an annual basis the holder must provide confirmation to the Department of Home Affairs of their continued employment in this profession.

After a 5 year period of continuous employment the quota work visa holder may apply for permanent residency in South Africa.

The application criteria includes:

  • An evaluation of your formal qualifications by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). Please note any qualification certificates not in English must be translated by a sworn translator into English.
  • Certain professional fields also have to obtain registration with the relevant South African professional/trade organisation, board or council.

Exceptional skills work visa – An exceptional skills work visa is issued to foreigners who excel in their field of specialisation and possess exceptional skills or qualifications. In order to apply for this visa, the applicant does not need to secure employment at the time of application.

Applications are judged on an individual basis so there of course can be no ‘set in stone’ criteria. Proof of exceptional skills can include:

  • A suitable foreign or South African organ or state, or from an established South African academic, cultural or business body verifying your exceptional skills and / or qualifications. Examples of this could be universities or professional bodies. It goes without saying the more the better,
  • Comprehensive testimonials from previous employers again supporting and evidencing your achievements and impact on the environment you worked within.
  • Evidence of any publications , thesis or other forms of delivery that further qualifies your exceptional skill area.
  • A comprehensive Curriculum Vitae/ (CV).

An exceptional skills work permit is valid for three years and an application can be made for permanent residency at any time.

General work visa – this work visa is appropriate where applicants are not eligible for a quota work visa, exceptional skills work visa, or under any other type of work visa.

With a general work visa there is an obligation and burden of proof put on the employer that requires that to demonstrate to the Department of Home Affairs that they exhausted the local labour market in searching for a suitable candidate to fill the position.

The general work visa is valid for as long as the job offer, usually between 1 and 5 years. After 5 years of continuous employment the holder of the general work visa can apply for permanent residency in South Africa.

The application would need to include:

  • An evaluation of your formal qualifications by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). Please note any qualification certificates not in English must be translated by a sworn translator into English.
  • Proof of where the advertisements where made to fill the position with a South African and that such adverts complied with the minimum standards.
  • Proof that short-listed candidates were interviewed
  • A motivational letter from the employer

Did you know Intergate Immigration has successfully processed thousands of work visa applications in over 50 embassies and consulates. Contact us today and discover for yourself just why we are so successful.

Other Work visa options

Whilst strictly speaking, not work visas, the following two options do enable an applicant to enter South Africa and work:

  1. A work endorsement – this is applicable only for applicants who are in a permanent relationship with a South African citizen or permanent resident. As a holder of either a spousal visa or life partner visa you are able to apply for an endorsement that allows you to work. The endorsement is job specific and needs to be reapplied for each time you change employers but the process is far simpler than that of a normal work visa.
  2. A corporate workers permit – can only be applied for if the employer is in possession of a corporate work permit.

Free eligibility assessment and consultation

We started off this article by saying that obtaining a work visa for South Africa is complex and detailed. As the industry leaders Intergate assists thousands of individuals each year with their work visa applications. Become part of our success story by taking advantage of our free eligibility assessment or use any of the methods below to contact us.

Simply use the contact points below for your preferred communication method:

Requesting a call back
Completing our online assessment
E-mailing us

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