How to make a work visa application for South Africa

work visa application south africa

Three basic aspects should be considered when making a work visa application for South Africa:

  • Where you should apply;
  • Which work visa to apply for; and
  • Whether or not to enlist the services of experts to assist you with the work visa process.

Where you should apply

In the main a work application for South Africa should be made in your country of origin. However, there are many exceptions this rule and it does get complicated. Our advice is to speak to an immigration expert to find out where exactly you should submit your application.

Which work visa to apply for

There are a selection of work visa applications from which you can choose the most appropriate. Here are your options:

  • A transfer through your employer

This work visa application would need to be an intra-company transfer. This would be from the company abroad to any subsidiary, affiliate or branch in South Africa.

Validity: 4 years and it cannot be renewed.

  • Your prospective employer holds a corporate work permit

In this instance the employee can apply for an individual corporate workers visa.

Validity: 4 years, or for a period not exceeding the employer’s corporate work permit, and it cannot be renewed.

  • Your occupation is on South Africa’s critical skills list

Here an application for a critical skills visa can be made. The critical skills list is a list of occupations that are difficult to fill with South African workers.

You’ll be able to come to South Africa without a job offer but must secure a employment within 12 months.

Validity: A maximum of 5 years after which you can apply for permanent residency. If you already have 5 years experience in your occupation you may be able to apply for permanent residency straight away.

  • You have had a job offer from a South African employer

When a South African employer has been unable to find a South African to fill an advertised position and would like to make a foreigner an offer, a general work visa application may be made.

Validity: The general work visa is issues for a period of between two and four years. You can make an application for permanent residency once you’ve held your visa for 5 continuous years.

Please note: If you hold a spousal or life partner visa and would like to work, you’ll have to endorse your visa for this purpose.

Whether or not to enlist the services of experts to assist you with the work visa process

You can do the application for your work visa yourself. However – immigration rules and regulations are constantly changing. Different embassies and consulates have slightly different interpretations. Application processes are cumbersome and time consuming.

This makes a work visa application for South Africa a complex affair. It’s no surprise that most foreigners choose to work with an immigration expert.

Qualified experts are able to guide you on which work visa to apply for, compile your application and use their expertise to address any complications.

Not all ‘experts’ are the same though.

Make sure you only deal with an immigraiton company that is either an immigration practitioner or South African attorney. Dealing with anyone else will mean dealing with someone not qualified to help you.

Furthermore, although small one-man outfits may seem cheaper at first, beware. Pick a company that has sufficient resources, staff numbers and experience to ensure they are able to follow up and sustain your work visa application throughout the entire process. It can sometimes take up to a year to receive an outcome.

Start your work visa application for South Africa

Intergate has successfully assisted thousands of individuals and companies with their work visa applications since 2005.

Let us do the same for you. Our assessments are free and non obligatory. All you have to do is call us or send us an email.

The sooner you do this, the sooner you can get the ball rolling on your work visa application.