The biggest mistake some of our clients make, is leaving general work visa extensions to the last minute.
That’s because these clients don’t realise that these extensions are essentially a reapplication for the visa, and thus takes just about as much time – and work – as the original application.
Both the applicant and the employer have to meet the qualifying criteria again.
Before we proceed any further, for the sake of clarity, we would like to ensure that you are fully aware of what a general work visa actually is.
The general work visa
The general work visa is, as the name suggests, a South African work visa. The main requirement is proof from the employer that every effort was made to first recruit a South African citizen or permanent resident.
The application is known to take up to a year to reach an outcome! The Department of Labour has to conduct thorough investigations before the application can move on to the Department of Home Affairs.
To learn more about general work visas, please click here.
Now let’s move on to the tips and advice on general work visa extensions you need to know …
Top tips general work visa extensions:
- Start the preparation process at least 12 months before your visa’s expiry date. Set a reminder, on every calendar you have! With the application taking as long as a year, as explained above, you have to start preparing well in advance for your extension.
- Ensure your paperwork is in order. Missing documents or documents in the incorrect form commonly cause unnecessary delays.
- Be aware of your passport expiry date. Your passport should be valid in order to apply for an extension. Make a note of the expiry date and renew it on time.
- Consult with immigration specialists. You can choose to do the extension on your own, but it’s advisable to work with immigration specialists to get your renewal right the first time.
- Have a backup plan. What happens if your application is rejected? Our immigration specialists will be able to give you advice on your options.
Don’t expose yourself to these risks…
There are certain risk factors associated with visa extensions you should be aware of and take care to avoid.
The number one risk factor is not applying in time for your extension, which may mean that you have to apply abroad. Naturally this means you’ll miss work, quite possibly for a couple of months, which could threaten your employment.
It’s not just your employment that could be affected. With a break in the consecutive time on a work visa in South Africa, any future applications for permanent residence could be affected negatively.
However, the biggest risk you should prepare for, is your application being turned down. Unfortunately a successful application for your first visa does not guarantee a positive outcome on the extension.
One last piece of advice
As explained, the Department of Labour is involved in the application and renewal process of the general work visa. The role of the Department is doing site visits at employers to confirm employer and employee compliance.
In exceptional cases, a Department of Labour waiver can be applied for, but this could take months. The waiver is never guaranteed either, so you’ll still have to leave time to apply for the Department of Labour recommendation if the waiver is rejected.
Would you like professional help with your general work visa extension?
Should you decide that you’d rather not do your visa extension on your own, you are welcome to contact us for assistance. Our immigration consultants have helped thousands of foreign nationals successfully apply for visas and extension.
You can reach us in Cape Town on +27 (0) 21 424 2460 or in Johannesburg on +27 (0) 11 234 4275. Alternatively, if you prefer for us to call you, then all you have do is a request a call back. It’s as simple as that.