Work Visa – South Africa
As a country with a growing economy and a developing manufacturing sector, South Africa requires a large number of skilled workers in various positions. For this reason, many foreigners are employed in South Africa. Any person who is not a citizen of South Africa and who wishes to work in the country needs to apply for a Work Visa.
The different types of work visa
There are various types of Work Visa that may be issued, depending on the situation of the applicant. These types have been listed below.
General Work Visa
The general Work visa is the most common type. In order to obtain this type of visa, the following requirements have to be met. Firstly, the employing company has to show documentary proof that they have tried to employ a South African citizen. This usually means that they have to advertise the position in the local media. The purpose of this requirement is to prevent jobs being denied to South African citizens, and so the employer has to provide substantial proof that the position cannot be filled by a South African citizen. Secondly, proof has to be submitted of the applicant’s qualifications and/or experience, and their qualifications have to be checked by the relevant South African authority.
Critical Skills Work Visa
There are some skills and qualifications which are regarded as exceptional by the South African government. A person who has such skills and/or qualifications may obtain a Critical Skills Work Visa. In order to obtain this visa, the applicant does not have to secure a specific position of employment at the time of application. The legislation does not specify what qualifies as exceptional, but a relevant South African organisation needs to confirm the applicant’s skills and/or qualifications in writing. The Critical Skills Work Visa is valid for a maximum period of three years, and extension is possible.
If you have a doctorate in a specific field, and have published articles and/or are considered an expert in a field, this can aid your application.
Intra-Company Transfer Visa
In today’s globalised world it often happens that people who work for multinational companies are transferred between countries. Where a person has been transferred into South Africa, they need to apply for the Intra-Company Transfer visa. This type of visa is only valid for two years, and often no extension is possible. Also, any applicant must have first worked for a minimum of 6 months in the employ of the company’s foreign office before applying to relocate and immigrate to the South African branch.
A Corporate Work visa is not issued to an individual, but to an employing company, and allows that company to employ a number of foreign workers. To read more about the Corporate visa, go to the section on the Corporate visa.
Work visas are not as complex as they seem, and unfortunately this is not realized by most companies. If you have a prospective job offer and are stuck with your future employer on this point, offer to organize an immigration consultant to call or meet with them. They can allay any fears that the company may have.
Usually companies are short-sighted, wanting only to employ someone who can start within one month’s time and who they can meet immediately. Be patient when dealing with a possible employer and explain to them the details of your proposed visa.
Lastly, superb recruitment advice is that you actually visit and attend some interviews South Africa before immigrating here. Although an extra expense, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages by far.
It is possible to apply for Permanent Residence on the basis of holding a Work visa. Anyone who has held a General Work visa for a period of five years may apply for Permanent Residence. Holders of a Critical Skills Work Visa visa may also apply. It is very much to the applicant’s advantage to be in possession of a contract of permanent employment, or an offer of permanent employment, at the time of application.