Are you thinking of working in South Africa or have already secured employment? We talk to Charlroy Vollmer of Migrate With Q for the best tips to consider when applying for a work visa.

South Africa, highly regarded as one of the most beautiful and fascinating countries in the world has an enduring fascination which continues to attract expats and migrants alike.

Many British nationals are immigrating to South Africa to start a new life and enjoy the sunshine all year round. Some find themselves in relationships with SA citizens whilst others find they can secure employment in South Africa. Also, since new work permits were introduced by the government to attract highly skilled foreign nationals, more people have been attracted to the opportunities offered by South Africa.

South Africa has a developing economy, and this means that there are plenty opportunities available for highly skilled foreigners to secure employment in SA. Increasingly many foreigners are looking to secure employment in South Africa, but unskilled and semi-skilled workers would have a hard time securing employment. The Department of Home Affairs in 2014 combined the quota work permit and exceptional skills visa to create the new critical skills work visa to attract highly skilled foreigners.

However, as long as you do your research and take professional advice, applying for visas and work permits need not be too much of an obstacle. The tips below should put you on the right track to starting a new life exploring the wonders of South Africa.

Do I Need a Visa to Work in South Africa?

Any individual who is not a South African citizen or permanent resident and who wishes to work in South Africa must apply for a work visa.

Working illegally in SA can lead to your being deported back to your home country and the company that employed will be fined heavily.

There are different types of South African work visas which you can apply for and qualifying for the correct work visa depends on the employment circumstance.

What are the Different Types of Work Visa?

Below is an overview of the different types of work visa so that you can ascertain which best meets your needs.

Corporate Visa

A corporate visa is issued to a South African company and when the company is granted this visa, they are then allowed to employ a predetermined number of foreign workers for a specific period. The Department of Home Affairs issues the workers with individual corporate work certificates.

Critical Skills Work Visa

Certain occupations in South Africa are in high demand and thus the Department of Home Affairs created the critical skills work visa to attract highly skilled foreigners to fill these positions. The amazing feature about this work visa is that you do not need a job offer when applying for this visa. An approved application without a job offer from your embassy awards you a 12-month critical skills visa.

To qualify for this visa, your occupation must be listed on the Critical Skills Occupation List for South Africa. You can also find out more on the government website.

Intra-Company Visa

A multi-national company with offices in South Africa may do an intra company transfer with their employees.

Foreign staff members must have been employed with the companies 6 months or more to qualify for the intra-company visa. The visa is valid for 4 years and cannot be extended.

General Work Visa

The general work visa one of the most complex visas to apply for. Prospective employers must first place an advertisement in a local newspaper to prove that they exhausted all avenues in first finding a suitable SA citizen or permanent resident.

An application must be sent to the Department of Labour which ensures that the foreign employee’s salary and benefits are on par with SA citizens in similar positions.

Applicants must have a job offer when applying for this visa as you need to submit your contract of employment with your visa application.

Business Visa

Applicants who like to start their own business in South Africa must apply for a business visa. To qualify for a business visa, you need invest 5 million ZAR within the business and 60% of staff should be SA citizens or permanent residents.

What documents are required to apply for a South African Work Visa?

Documents required may vary according to your situation and which particular visa you are applying for. However, the list below gives you an idea of what you will need to prepare:

  • Completed DHA – 1738 application form
  • Valid passport with at least 2 empty pages
  • Police clearance certificates for each and every country you have lived in since the age of 18
  • Qualifications assessed by SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority)
  • Medical reports and Radiology reports
  • Contract of Employment
  • Department of Labour certificate (Applicable to General Work Visa)
  • Registration with a professional body (Applicable to Critical Skills Work Visa
  • Marriage certificate (In the event a spouse accompanies you to SA)
  • Yellow fever vaccination report if applicable

Where can you apply for a South African Work Visa?

All applications for the UK, must be submitted at VFS. Before you can submit your application, you must book your appointment through the VFS website and submit your application on your appointment date.

You will have to submit your application in person at your nearest VFS centre. Before booking an appointment, please ensure follow any COVID-19 protocols.

How much does a South Africa Work Visa cost?

There are a number of costs related to your Work Permit that you will need to consider. For this reason it is worth considering using a reliable visa agent to give your application the highest chance of success.

These include:

VFS service fee: £40 (Payment must be made online)

VFS visa fee: £125.00 (Payment made at VFS centre)

Passport delivery fee: £23.50 (optional)

SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) fee – £89

Registration with professional body (Critical Skills Permit) – Dependent on professional council fees.

Medical Reports – Dependent on your GP’s fees

Radiological Report – Dependent on your Radiologists fees

Police clearance certificates – Dependent on the authority fees

In addition to visa costs you may also wish to look at shipping costs for South Africa for when it’s time for you to move.

Why are many Work Permits applications rejected?

Unfortunately due to the complicated nature of the application process and people’s limited understanding of the visa process, work permits are often rejected by the Department of Home Affairs.

These are the most common reasons for applications failing:

  • Documents not completed accurately or appropriately
  • Incorrect documents
  • Documents omitted
  • Applying for the incorrect work permit

Getting your application rejected is something you want to avoid at all costs. Employers tend to withdraw their offer of employment or rejection causes delays which frustrates employers in South Africa.

Ensure that your application is 100% correct before submitting your documents.

Why you should consider using an Immigration Agent?

Making use of immigration agent for South Africa will be beneficial to your application and help give you the best chances of a smooth and successful process.

Immigration agents are there to assist you and make sure your documents for a work permit is 100% correct. They are experienced and can submit in a quicker time frame.

When making use of an immigration agent, apply due diligence to make sure that you have an immigration agent who is going to serve your best interests and knows what they are doing. Be wary of an immigration agent who guarantees a work permit. No immigration agent can guarantee you anything, only the Department of Home Affairs has the final say.

An experienced immigration agent will find out from you how you qualify by asking you a set of questions. Once they are happy that you qualify, they will issue you with a quote for their service fees and once payment has been made from your side, then they will send you a list of documents unique to your case. Once all documents have been sent to your immigration agent, they will scrutinize all documents and prepare your documents for submission.

“Using an immigration agent greatly increases your chances in getting your visa”

When immigrating to South Africa it pays off to use an immigration agent that specializes in South African immigration. We recommend that you start the process 9 months before you move to South Africa as there are many frustrating delays with South African immigration.

Need help for your move or relocation to South Africa?

If you need visa advice, no matter whether it’s for work or any other kind of visas for South Africa, we recommend you talk to Charlroy Vollmer of Migrate With Q who are specialists in immigration services for South Africa. He will be able to guide you through the entire application process and give you the best possible chance of success.

When you are ready to make your move, then call the team at PSS. No matter whether your moving your whole house contents in a shipping container or just shipping a few bags and boxes, we will be able to give the best quote and ensure your belongings all arrive safely.