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How to apply for a Critical Skills Work Visa for South Africa

On this page, we will explain who qualifies for the Critical Skills Visa for South Africa, the requirements which must be met, and the application process. For expert assistance with your immigration matter, contact Reiss Edwards, immigration lawyers, and solicitors in London, on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

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As a major economic power in the region, South Africa has a great deal to offer migrants from around the world seeking work opportunities. The GDP of the South African region is expected to see sustained growth in the coming years as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The main industrial sectors in the region include mining, manufacturing, technology, financial services, iron and steel, and tourism. As such, South Africa, like many other developed nations, is becoming a ‘knowledge economy’ necessitating a great deal of skilled workers (referred to in South Africa as critical skilled workers). Beyond the work and economic opportunities in the region, South Africa is known for its stunning coastlines and scenery, wildlife, amazing food, and a rich blend of cultural influences. On this page, we will explain who qualifies for the Critical Skills Visa for South Africa, the requirements which must be met, and the application process.

What is the Critical Skills Work Visa for South Africa?

The South African Critical Skills Visa is a work visa intended for foreign workers with in-demand skills and experience. Applicants must be in a profession on the South African Department of Home Affairs critical skills list. Critical skilled roles in South Africa cover a wide range of jobs, including:

  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Sheep shearing
  • Architects
  • Corporate general managers
  • IT specialists and technicians
  • Engineers
  • Tradespeople – including industrial machinery mechanics and pipefitters

Applicants do not need a job offer to secure a Critical Skills Work Visa, however, a person with a job will be able to stay for up to five years compared to only one year without a job. What matters to secure a Critical Skills Work Visa is having sufficient skills and qualifications to carry out a role on the Critical Skills occupation list.

Am I eligible for a Critical Skills Work Visa for South Africa?

The eligibility criteria for a Critical Skills Work Visa in South Africa are not particularly onerous compared to many other countries. For example, a job offer is not required to secure a work visa. According to the South African Department of Home Affairs, to qualify for a Critical Skills Work Visa for South Africa, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have the skills and qualifications for a role on the Critical Skills occupation list.
  • Meet the medical requirements (applicants may need to have a medical examination to meet this requirement).
  • Provide evidence of police clearance
  • Have sufficient financial means while in South Africa (a minimum of R3000)

How do I apply for a Critical Skills Work Visa for South Africa?

The application process is managed by VFS Global, however, the decision on your Critical Skills Work Visa will be made by the South African Department of Home Affairs. The following are the main steps involved in applying for and securing a Critical Skills Work Visa for South Africa:

Step 1) Apply for a Critical Skills Work visa in South Africa online through VFS Global. There is no option to apply using a handwritten application form.

Step 2) Pay the required application fees and book an appointment at a Visa Facilitation Centre.

Step 3) Prepare and check the documents required to support your application – these may include (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Passport
  • A medical report and radiological report
  • Original Police clearance certificate issued by the police or security authority in each country where the relevant applicant resided for 12 months or longer after the age of 18 years except for South Africa.
  • A yellow fever vaccination certificate if the applicant has travelled or intends to travel from or transiting through a yellow fever endemic area.
  • Evidence of R3000 in the form of three months bank statements (or a written undertaking by the employer accepting responsibility for the possible deportation costs of the applicant)
  • A written undertaking by the employer or applicant to ensure that the passport of the applicant shall be valid at all times for the duration of his or her temporary visa
  • Evidence that the applicant falls within the critical skills category by specifically indicating the occupation/critical skill for which the application is being made.
  • Proof of evaluation of the foreign qualification by SAQA and translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of the Republic.
  • Proof of payment of the applicable fee and R1350 payable to VFS Global.

Step 4) Attend your appointment at a Visa Facilitation Centre – you will need to take with you your appointment letter, printed online application form, proof of payment and supporting documents, along with a valid passport or travel document.

Step 5) You will need to enrol your biometrics (fingerprints and photo) at the Visa Facilitation Centre.

Step 6) Wait for your application to be processed

The progress of your application can be tracked on your VFS Global online account. Your application decision can be collected in person or by a representative from the Visa Facilitation Centre (you will need to take your original passport with you as proof of identity). For more details regarding what happens once you have submitted your application and collecting your visa documents, please see the VFS Global website.

Reiss Edwards have the resources and expertise to assist with all aspects of South Africa immigration. If you need assistance with your Critical Skills Work Visa for South Africa or any other immigration matter, contact our Immigration Lawyers on 020 3744 2797 or by email at info@reissedwards.co.uk

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Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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