As the recent Immigration Report from Statistics South Africa illustrated work visas are one of the most popular ways for foreigners to come to South Africa. In light of this it is worth briefly revisiting the different types of work visas that are available to foreigners that wish to come and work in South Africa. The different types of work visas for South Africa are listed below with a brief explanation of each:
Intra Company Transfer Visa:
The Intra Company Transfer Visa is applicable in the case where there is an international company with a branch, subsidiary or affiliated company operating in South Africa. In the event that the international company wishes to transfer an employee to the subsidiary in South Africa this would be the applicable visa. It is important that the applicant has been employed by the overseas company for a period of at least 6 months. The Intra Company Transfer Visa can be granted for a maximum period of 4 years.
Critical Skills Visa:
The Department of Home Affairs has published a list of skills that are considered scarce and in high demand in South Africa. An applicant that qualifies in terms of this list of skills may be able to work in South Africa on a Critical Skills Visa. It is quite an administratively intense application with the applicant having to, inter alia, have his/her qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), as well as joining the relevant professional body in South Africa. An offer of employment from a South African company can be useful, but is not essential. The Critical Skills Visa can be granted for up to 5 years, and can normally be renewed.
General Work Visa:
The General Work Visa applies where the applicant has already received a job offer from a South African company. The South African company must demonstrate that they have attempted to recruit a South African citizen for the position, but despite their best efforts have not been able to find a person with the right qualifications and skills. The Department of Labour will also be involved in the process, and will have to provide a report supporting the application. The General Work Visa is a substantial process and typically very time consuming.
A Corporate Work visa is not issued to an individual, but to an employing company, and enables that company to employ a number of foreign workers. The requirement for a Corporate Visa are fairly complex with the company having to present a human resources plan outlining the details of how many workers will be required as well as their specific qualifications. As per the General Work Visa the Department of Labour will also be involved in the process and will have to confirm that the particular skills required by the company are not available in South Africa.
Short Term Work Visa:
A short term work visa can be granted for up to 3 months. A letter of invitation is required from the South African company for whom the applicant is doing work, as well as a letter from the overseas company. The Short Term Work Visa does not require many of the documents that would normally apply to the long term work visas. It is possible to extend this visa for a further 3 months, but an application must be made with a letter motivating the reasons for the extension.
For any further information on obtaining work visas for South Africa please do not hesitate to contact us.
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