Critical Skills Work Visa

Applying for a South African Critical Skills Work Visa
Applying for a South African Critical Skills Work Visa

An astronomer, a Biochemist and a farmer are on a plane together…

What could be mistaken as a lead up to a cliché old joke, is actually a very plausible scenario in relation to the South African Critical Skills Work Visa.

There are some qualifications which are classified as exceptional by the South African government, and that, coupled with the fact South Africa has a skill shortage in certain professions, resulted in the much appreciated landing of the new Work Visa termed the Critical Skills Work Visa, introduced May 2014

Following a directive passed last week, the application has been further simplified. The main reason for this directive is to clear up inconsistencies with information about the preparation of and the submission of Critical Skills Work Visa applications, which previously seemed a bit up in the air at times, but also aligns with preliminary economic strategies.
On 2 June 2014 in a statement to the media Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni said: “We need people who will be able to come to our country in order to improve our economy.” “To do that, we need to bring up permits which will allow people to easily come to the country.”
A person who has such skills and/or qualifications may obtain a Critical Skills Work Visa.

What we have learnt from the inception of the Critical Skills Work Visa

  1. Those applications with an offer of employment are likely to be issued with the full 5 year Critical Skill Work Visa whereas those without one are getting a one year Critical Skills Work Visa. Reason being the Department of Home Affairs requires the applicant to submit again accordingly, to ensure confirmation of employment.
  2. Those who are including their employment contracts are getting a 5 year Critical Skills Work Visa with the name of the employment company stipulated on the face of the Visa.
  3. A spouse and dependent children of a holder of a Critical Skills Work Visa shall be issued with an appropriate Visa valid for a period that coincides with the period of applicant’s Critical Skills Work Visa.
  4. Where there is proof of an application for professional membership there is no longer the need to request additional information from the professional body for confirmation of skills as they will be done as part of the membership application process.The South African Critical Skills Visa replaces the previous Quota Work Permit and the Exceptional Skills Permit, bringing along it some benefits:

The benefits of the Critical Skills Work Visa include:

  • An offer of employment is no longer a necessary requirement.
  • It allows the holder 12 months in which to confirm employment in South Africa within the listed categories.
  • There is no limit as to how many Visas may be issued per category, unlike the previous Quota Visa.
  • Every applicant for the Critical Skills Visa will still need to have his/her foreign qualifications reviewed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), and will be required to register with the professional body or council, but they no longer require a recommendation letter from the accredited professional body or Department of Labour, resulting in quicker turnaround times.
  • The Critical Skills Visa Can be a route to permanent residency immediately as well an immediate 5 year working Visa.
  • It is based on a well researched list of occupations that are decidedly needed in South Africa, helping foreign employees and local employers.

Therefore qualifying criteria for a Critical Skills Work Visa are:

  • Proof of employment within 12 months after obtaining the Critical Skills Work Visa in the form of an employment contract.
  • An application for a Critical Skills Work Visa has to be accompanied by proof that the applicant falls within the critical skills category and in the form of:
  • Proof of application for a certificate of registration with the professional body, council or board recognised by SAQA.
  • Proof of evaluation translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of the Republic of the foreign qualification by SAQA.
  • Proof of post qualification experience in form of testimonials or reference letters.

In summary

  1.  South Africa has a skill shortage in certain professions.
  2.  Now there is an opportunity to secure a work visa prior to getting a job offer.
  3. There is no limit on the amount of critical skills visas that may be issued in each of the categories.

Next step

Perhaps you are interested in taking up employment in South Africa under one of the listed categories. The process of applying for a Critical Skills Visa has never been more amicable. Send us your CV for a free evaluation or if you would prefer to speak to us:

+ 27 (0) 21  424 24670( Cape Town)

+27 (0)11 234 4275 (Johannesburg)

Find out how we could help you take flight.