Work Permits in South Africa
General Work Visa
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.
Unlike the others types of work visa, the general work visa requires that the employer has made every attempt to try to fill their vacant position with either a South African Citizen or permanent resident.
General work permits are valid for the duration of the contract of employment. A general work permit shall lapse if within 6 months of issuance and if every year thereafter the holder fails to submit satisfactory proof to the Director-General that he/she is still employed along with proof of the terms and conditions of the job, and the job description.
Applications for a general work visa should be made at the Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s home country. Renewing of a general work visa can take place in South Africa.
Prospective immigrants to South Africa are often frustrated as they attempt to secure jobs. Often employees will not entertain the prospect of offering positions to foreigners who are not in possession of a work visa. Some of this is down to not understanding the process. You can however increase your chances of success. Start the process by obtaining your SAQA and informing the prospective employer that you have started the work visa process and retained an immigration company already.
Please note that the Department of Labour is now taking 1-3 months to complete the Labour certificate, and the processing can take up to 6 months from start to finish.
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.
Intra-Company Transfer Visa
Occasionally, multi-national companies may decide to transfer an existing employee from a foreign branch to a branch in South Africa. These employees must apply for intra-company transfer work permits. In such cases, no proof of steps taken to obtain the services of a South African citizen/permanent residence will be required.
The holder of an intra-company transfer work permit issued to them prior to 26 May 2014 for a period of two years, who wishes to continue with an international assignment for the remainder of the four year period, may submit an application for a new intra-company work visa at the VFS visa application centers or at the South African mission in the applicants country of origin or where he/she holds permanent residency.
However, where an assignee has completed four years of his/her international assignment and the operational needs of the branch, subsidiary or Affiliate Company in South Africa requires the services of the assignee for a further period, an application for a new intra-company work visa needs to be submitted. Such applications must, however, be submitted at the South African Mission in the applicants country of origin or of permanent residence. A new intra-company transfer work visa for a period not exceeding four years may be granted, provided that all prescribed requirements are met.
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. An intra-company Transfer visa can be issued for a maximum period of 4 years.
Please note that you cannot change from an Intra-Company Transfer to any other status from within South Africa. Should you wish to change status, you will be required to do so from your home country or previous residence.
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 skill 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 recognized by SAQA.
Please note that should you not have employment in South Africa, the Department of Home Affairs will provide a 12 month visa giving you the opportunity to find employment in South Africa. Should you have a job offer, please note that this visa will be issued for up to five years.