Working in South Africa
There are three different categories of work visas (formerly known as work permits) that allow a foreign national to conduct work in South Africa. See their designations and requirements below.
The general work visa South Africa
What is a general work visa in South Africa?
A general work visa allows a foreign national to work and reside in South Africa for a specific employer in any position that, in theory, cannot be filled by a South African citizen or permanent resident. The employer must show that no suitably qualified local candidates could be found to fill the position in order for the foreign national to be granted permission to work in South Africa.
How would I qualify for a South African general work visa?
The applicant must have an offer of employment before starting the application process. The position must have been offered to South African citizens and permanent residents – this is done by advertising the position in print media and going through a strenuous Department of Labour process. Should the prospective employer not be able to fill the position with a local candidate, then the foreign national may be offered the position. The general work visa can then be applied for.
For how long is a South African general work visa issued?
A general work visa can be issued for up a period of up to 5 years. How long the visa is issued for depends to a large extent on how the application is motivated. For this reason, applicants who have had the benefit of a professional’s services are far more likely to secure a five year visa than those who have made the application themselves.
Critical skills work visa South Africa
What is a critical skills work visa?
A critical skills work visa is issued to a foreign national who works within a specific profession deemed to be a critical in the Republic of South Africa. The new critical skills list has just been published and released on the 3rd of July 2014.
How would I qualify for a critical skills work visa in South Africa?
A foreign national would qualify for critical skills work visa if their profession is listed on the critical skills list and they have the necessary qualifications and experience confirmed by the relevant accredited professional body, council or board and recognised by SAQA.
For how long is a South African critical skills work visa issued?
A critical skills visa affords the holder the opportunity to work in South Africa for up to 5 years.
You can download the full critical skills list here.
Intra-company transfer visa South Africa
What is an intra-company transfer visa in South Africa?
An intra-company transfer visa allows a foreign national to reside in South Africa while working for the local branch, subsidiary or affiliate of their employer abroad.
How would I qualify for an intra-company transfer visa?
For example, Steve works for Pear Computers Limited in Cupertino, California. Steve specialises in turning around struggling business units. Pear Computers Limited needs Steve to come work at Pear Computers’ offices in Cape Town. Steve will need to apply for an intra-company Transfer visa.
For how long is an intra-company transfer visa issued?
An intra-company Transfer visa will allow the holder to work in South Africa for a maximum period of 4 years.
Permanent Residency Option
Apply for a work permit if you’re looking to live and work in South Africa on a permanent basis