How to Obtain a Critical Skills Work Visa in South Africa

How to Obtain a Critical Skills Work Visa in South Africa

In 2011, South Africa published the National Development Plan (NDP). A product of the National Planning Commission, this plan provides multiple ways for South Africa to continue developing its economy. The plan aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.

The commission identifies several key areas through which it will meet this goal, including:

  • Promoting economic growth, investment, and employment
  • Raising education and health standards
  • Enabling a more effective government with less corruption
  • Focusing on public and private partnerships.

One additional component of this plan is recruiting foreign workers with skills the government deems as critical for economic growth. It is an alternate method to obtaining a General Work Visa and living in the country. Below is more information on the Critical Skills Work Visa and how foreign workers can obtain it in South Africa.


Critical Skills Work Visa in South Africa: What Is It?

The Critical Skills Work Visa will enable South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and government to achieve the objectives of the NDP and other programs.

The DHA last published this list in June 2014, which includes the industry, the skill, and the particular requirements that an applicant must meet to be accepted for a Critical Skills Work Visa. Applicants should check this document before beginning the application process to see the requirements.

The advantage of this visa is that the foreign national does not have to have an offer of employment at the time of application.

Critical Skills Work Visa Required Documents

As with every visa, the applicant needs to gather a number of documents you must submit with your application. Here are the necessary documents for the critical skills visa:

  • Completed application
  • A passport that is valid for at least 30 days beyond the last day of the visa
  • A medical report less than six months old
  • A radiological report less than six months old
  • Any documents establishing family relationships such as marriage licenses, adoptions, divorce decrees, etc.
  • Original police clearance certificate from the countries in which the applicant has lived for more than 12 months since reaching the age of 18
  • If traveling through a yellow fever zone, a certificate verifying a yellow fever vaccination
  • A written undertaking by the employer to bear the cost of deportation should the applicant overstay the visa. If there is no employer, the applicant must prove financial ability to bear the cost– minimum R3,000– with three banks statements.
  • A written undertaking by the employer to ensure that the passport will remain valid during the entire stay. If there is no employer, the applicant assumes that responsibility.
  • Proof that the applicant falls into a critical skills category
  • Proof of evaluation of qualifications by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)
  • If required by law, proof that the applicant has registered with a professional body recognized by SAQA
  • Proof from a professional body recognized by SAQA that the applicant has the requisite skills

Required SAQA Documents

The process to get approval by the South African Qualifications Authority is as lengthy as the rest of the visa process. The process requires an application and payment, proof of identity, a consent form, and additional qualifying documents.

These qualifying documents vary depending on the industry and country in which the applicant resides. Workers should go to the SAQA website to find exactly what supporting documentation they need to provide.

Critical Skills Work Visa Application Process

The visa application process begins with an online application. South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs does not accept written applications. Once the application process is complete and the Department of Home Affairs has made a decision, it can grant a critical skills visa to the applicant for up to five years. If the worker applies for this visa without a job offer, the visa is only good for a maximum of one year. To extend the visa, the applicant must show proof of employment at that time.

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