South African Work Visa Options For Foreign Companies

South African Work Visa Options For Foreign Companies
South African Work Visa Options For Foreign Companies

For many foreign companies setting up branch or company in South Africa, a key consideration is the South African work visa options for foreign companies.

The need for work visa arises from:

  • Expertise being hard to source in South Africa for particular industries or professions; or
  • Key personnel being required to be transferred to the new operation especially during the set up phase.

Below we provide you with all the South African work visa options for foreign companies as well as links to more in-depth detail on each visa type. You may also wish to call us for a free consultation with regards to your needs on + 27 (0) 21 424 2460.

What are the South African work visa options for foreign companies?

Corporate visa

A corporate visa is an application made to the Department of Home Affairs by a company. The company (applicant)
will utilise the corporate permit where there is a need to recruit a number of foreign workers (5 plus) over the next few years due to there being difficulty in accessing the required skills with South African nationals.

The corporate work visa, if successfully applied for, then provides a sort of blanket permission to employ a certain number of foreign workers, in particular roles, over a specific time period.

There is no doubt that being in possession of a corporate visa is advantageous both in terms of cost, time and ease of application. Once granted, individual workers then need only apply for a corporate workers visa, where the requirements are far less onerous then other types of work visa.

You can view information on the corporate visa here and the individual corporate workers visa here.

Critical Skills Work Visa

The critical skills category is an excellent solution for many corporates. It focuses on a
published list of critical skills; skills that are hard to source in South Africa. Successful applicants under the critical skills work visa are granted a 5 years work visa; it is also possible for them to apply for permanent residency straight away.

You can read more about the critical skills work visa here, and also the permanent residency requirements under this category.

Intra company transfers

An intra company transfer is simply the movement of an employee from the company’s operations outside of South Africa to its operations inside of South Africa. This work visa option is best used where existing staff members are required in the South African operation for a certain period of time – typically two years. You can read more on intra company transfers here.

General work visa

A general work visa is applicable where an intra company transfer cannot take place and the company does not have a corporate work visa.

The general work visa, as one of the South African work visa options for foreign companies, is probably the most challenging. There is burden of proof on the company that every effort has been made to employ ‘local South Africans’ and the process can be time consuming at plus minus 3 months.

Did you know….

Intergate Immigration was the first, and remains one of the only immigration companies, that has a bespoke corporate department. We realise the needs to corporates are vastly different to those of individuals and our service is tailored to this end rather than a one size fits all solution.

Getting help with your visa or permit application

We welcome the opportunity to consult with you as to your eligibility for a visa /permit and answer any questions you may have with no obligation.

You can take our free one minute assessment here or request a call back for more information. Or simply call us at +27 (0)21 424 2460.

Alternatively you can fill out the below online enquiry form to contact us.


First Name *

Surname *

Email Address *

Telephone Number

Language *

Country Of Residence *

What Visa would you apply for? *

Where in SA would you move to? *

Comments *