What is a critical skills visa?

It is a work visa based on compliance with the Critical Skills List. The South African government publishes a list of key skills and qualifications for the economy. The candidate must be able to demonstrate that he or she is qualified and skilled in one of the jobs or skills listed on the critical skills list. Proof will include letters of endorsement from appropriate professional groups, as well as the South African Qualifications Authority’s evaluation of a foreign qualification (SAQA). You must also provide proof of your application for registration with a suitable South African body or council. The critical skills visa can be issued for 12 months without a listed employer or for five years with a suitable work offer in the chosen skills category.

Where can I find the South African critical skills list?

The Critical Skills List is published in the Government Gazette. You may download the PDF version of the list at this link.

Is it necessary for SAQA to assess my qualifications?

Yes, all foreign qualifications need to be submitted to the South Africa Qualifications Authority to be evaluated within the National Qualifications Framework Act.

The NQF level of a qualification may be relevant in terms of the required membership registration with a SAQA certified professional body for the specific skill that a foreigner wishes to be recognized for.

You can apply for your spouse, children, and other dependent family members to accompany you.

Who can apply for a Critical Skill visa?

Agricultural, engineering, architecture, business and economics, information technology, health professionals, and other areas are covered under the critical skill visa.  

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