Let’s BUST 7 Myths about South African work visas!


south african work visa

There are many misconceptions about South African work visas.

Unfortunately, buying into misinformation could set you up for failure when applying for a visa.

That’s why we’ve decided to clear up the seven biggest myths by giving you the facts instead.

Let’s start with the biggest one of all:

1. Myth: I am guaranteed a work visa if I have a job offer in South Africa.

Fact: You’ll need more than a job offer to get a work visa for South Africa. You must also meet the requirements of the visa for which you want to apply. For example, your occupation must be on the critical skills list to apply for a Critical Skills Work Visa.

2. Myth: I can start working for an employer as soon as I’ve submitted my visa application.

Fact: No, you must have your visa approved and in hand before you can start a job. Until such time, you cannot legally work for an employer.

3. Myth: I can work for any employer.

Fact: No, you can’t. Your work visa is employer-specific. You must apply for a change of conditions to change employers.

4. Myth: If I have a work visa, my accompanying spouse can also automatically work in South Africa.

Fact: No, your spouse may not work in South Africa. Accompanying spouses can only reside in South Africa, meaning they can’t work, study or be involved in a business while living in South Africa.

5. Myth: I have to endorse my work visa to study part-time

Fact: You don’t have to endorse your work visa. Foreign nationals with General Work Visas, Critical Skills Work Visas, Intra-Company Transfer Work Visas and Business Visas are allowed to register and undertake part-time studies with Institutions of Higher Learning during the validity period of their studies.

Please note that you cannot undertake full-time studies on a work visa. Undertaking full-time studies would require holding a South African visa, but you are not allowed to simultaneously have a work visa and study visa.

6. Myth: My visa renewal is as good as guaranteed if I have a current work visa. It will be quick and easy too.

Fact: You must meet the requirements of your visa again when renewing it, including any new requirements that came into law since the last time you applied. You’ll also have to submit the necessary paperwork again, and Home Affairs won’t process your application faster because it’s a renewal.

7. Myth: If I work in South Africa long enough on my visa, I qualify for permanent residence.

Fact: This is the case for some South African work visas but not for others:

  • Critical Skills Work Visa: If you have gained more than five years of relevant, post-graduate experience in your occupation, you can apply for permanent residence immediately. Any work experience from overseas also counts towards the required five years.
  • General WorkVisa: You can apply for permanent residence when you have held a General Work Visa for more than five consecutive years, i.e. with no breaks.
  • Intra-company Transfer Work Visa: The ICT Work Visa allows for temporary residence in South Africa only and does not provide a pathway to permanent residence.
  • Corporate Work Visa: This work visa allows for temporary residence in South Africa only and does not provide a pathway to permanent residence.
  • Exchange Visa: The Exchange Visa is only valid for one year and does not provide a pathway to PR.

Need clarification on any South African work visa information?

You can contact us any time you need clarification on information about work visas you’ve heard or come across online.

You can reach us at +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or info@intergate-immigration.com.

If you’d prefer us to call you, ask for a call back. You leave your details, and a consultant will contact you.

The last thing we want is for you to come to South Africa or start a work visa application while under a false impression.