In the normal case where the spouse or life partner of a South African citizen or permanent resident wishes to reside in South Africa with their South African spouse they will apply for a Relatives Visa in the spousal category. The Relatives Visa however, is very limited in its application, and does not allow the holder of the visa to work or study in South Africa.
Provision to allow the foreign spouse to work or study in South Africa is made in terms of Section 11 (6) of the Immigration Act. Effectively, Section 11 (6) provides for an endorsement of the Spousal Visa to allow the foreign spouse to either work, study or operate their own business in South Africa. The Section makes provision for a relaxation of the normal work visa requirements where a foreign person would normally have to show that they have critical skills that are in short supply in South Africa, or that they have a job offer from a South Africa company and the company has not been able to find a suitably qualified South African for the position.
In the case where the foreign person is the spouse or life partner of a South African citizen, and they wish to reside with their South African partner and work in South Africa then they may apply for a Section 11 (6) Visitors Visa. In such cases all they have to do is present either a job offer from a South African company or proof that they will be operating their own business. This is normally done by way of registering a company and registration for tax.
There are a couple of challenges with the Section 11 (6) application which include the following: A number of South African Embassies abroad will not issue a Section 11 (6) visa. This will require the foreigner to apply for a Relatives Visa at the Embassy, and then only once that has been issued and they have entered South Africa can they then apply for a Section 11 (6) visa. They may also enter South Africa on a Visitors (Tourist) Visa and then apply for the Section 11 (6) visa. Secondly, the Section 11 (6) visa is sometimes issued limiting the person to only work for the specific company that provided the job offer. This is not correct but unfortunately has become a common practice by the Department of Home Affairs. The result of this is that should the person then wish to leave the company and work for another company they will have to submit a new visa application.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions with regards to the above.
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