There is an old African proverb that goes- He Who Toils in the Sun, feasts Under the shade.
What this means, I like to believe, is that while it is true many things may not come easy to us, through hard work and endurance, we shall we see the fruits of our labor.
This rings particularly true for those of us who not only work for a living but view our careers or businesses as investments for our future and, even that of our kin.
Investing in the future whether it of a personal nature, career driven or in one’s community or country, it is something certainly worth striving for.
So although many updates and changes to the South African Immigration Act in 2014 were met with controversy, some changes have been viewed in the light of an investment into the Republic.
For example; changes such as the launch of the Critical Skills Visa and the recent updates to the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa, surely align with the aim of investing skills and expertise into the South African economy.
On 2 June 2014 in a statement to the media, Home Affairs Director General Mussel Aplenty 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.”
With this in mind- let us take a look at the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa as it stood, and the very recent Amendment to Immigration Directive 19- the Errata Directive
What is the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa?
- Its is a Visa issued to those foreign nationals employed by an overseas company that need to be transferred to a branch, affiliation or subsidiary here in South Africa.
- The Visa is needed on entry to the country, therefore it needs to be applied for outside of South Africa.
- It is the appropriate Visa option for an employee that is needed to work in South Africa for a maximum of 4 years.
- The Intra-company Transfer Work Visa issued for 4 years can not be extended.
Where applicable- the applicants who received a 2 year Visa under the old Act is now eligible to apply for the “top up” 2 year duration in South Africa to maximize on the duration proposed by the new legislation.
- Partners and dependents may accompany the holder of the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa. Those companions will need to apply and meet the conditions of a accompanying Visa for partners and/or accompanying dependent/minor. If the dependent/minor is of school going age a Study Visa is the appropriate Visa to apply for in that case.
- No Permanent Residence applications can be made while working on a Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa, however if the applicant is working within a Critical Skills profession, he/she may well be eligible for Permanent Residency – as according to current legislation Section 19 Work Visa- your time spent in South Africa as an Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa holder may contribute towards your 5 year work status in South Africa. This could deem you eligible to apply for Permanent Residency in future. Please make sure you get sound,professional advice regarding this route however.
What is the employer or company/affiliate/branch whom the applicant is being transferred to accountable for?
Well first and foremost they need to confirm that they have a plan in place for the applicant to be transferring his/her skill to a South African citizen or permanent resident of South Africa.
They will also need to confirm the following:
- The foreign employee will only be employed within the role stipulated, to which the Visa was granted.
- That the foreign employee will comply with the provisions of the act and the conditions of the Visa at all times and that any deportation costs of the employee and his/her accompanying spouse/dependents if any would be at the employer’s expense.
- The foreign employee is to have a valid passport at all times.
And the overseas company will need to provide proof that:
- By participating in the transfer the employer is in fact consenting that the employee is being transferred to a branch/subsidiary of the original company in South Africa.
- That the employee has been employed within the overseas company for a period of no less than 6 months and will not be required to work in South Africa for more than 4 years under the Intra-Company Transfer Visa. Thereafter they may leave and apply again for another 4 years Intra-Company Work Visa as the Errata document allows. If they want to stay in South Africa they will be required to move their work contract to the South African office and away from the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa structure. Again, please get sound advice regarding this route.
What are the recent updates and benefits to the Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa?
The Errata Directive 19 stipulates that:
1) An Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa holder who has a 2 year Visa as issued under the old law before 26 May 2014 is eligible to apply for the top up extension for the further 2 years:
- This can be applied for at VFS in SA; or
- The top up may also be applied for in their home country / country of residence. Or they may also apply for a 4 year Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa.
2) If the applicant has completed a 4 year duration on an Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa, and where it can be motivated that the operational needs of the business/company demand that the incumbent come back to South Africa, a new 4 year Visa may be applied for, but only from the country of origin, by where applicant could return to South Africa on another Intra-company Transfer Work Visa. It should be noted here that it can not be assumed a second Intra Company Transfer Work Visa will be issued, unless the circumstances and motivations are carefully accessed and the reason to issue another Visa are feasible.
The obvious benefits to this recent Directive are:
- If electing to ‘top up’ for the additional 2 years allowed, the travel costs and administration around having to send the applicant back to their country of residence/origin for a ‘top up’ on their Intra-Company Transfer is saved. The applicant may apply for the ‘top up’ before the expiry (60 days) of their Visa and maintain their role within the company while waiting it to be processed.
- This works out to be more optimal to the business as the employer will not need to replace the applicant while he/she is abroad applying and waiting on their ‘top up’ Visa, thus saving additional cost and resources.
- The applicant’s personal life is not disrupted by the travel and the time it takes to process the Visa. In cases where there are accompanying members, like partners and/or dependents, they too will benefit from not having their lives hindered. This is especially beneficial to accompanying dependents/minors on a Study Visa.
- If the applicant submits within South Africa and the continuity of their Visas are not broken, they could be building towards Permanent Residency application in the future.
Intergate Immigration has successfully assisted companies to submit applications in over 80 South African embassies and consulates around the globe. Offering South Africa’s premier dedicated corporate service, you can trust us with your companies and employees needs.
Let us use the tools given to us by the Immigration Act as seeds from which the fruits of your labor are recognized with prosperity in 2015.
Find out more about Intra-Company Transfer Work Visa here
If you are already in South Africa on your Intra-company Transfer Work Visa feel free to come in and see us at 199 Loop Street, Second Floor, Cape Town or Block D – Second Floor, Edenburg Terraces, 348 Rivonia Boulevard, Johannesburg
+ 27 (0)21 424 2460 (Cape Town)
+ 27 (0)11 234 4275 (Johannesburg)