South African Working Visa

South African Working Visa – The 6 Best Guide


Getting a South African working visa is not as hard as you think. As a foreigner, before you apply for a job in any country, you must make sure that your permanent or temporary working visa has been issued to the targeted country by the department of home affairs.

South Africa has lots of skill shortages in some sectors that are worth keeping an eye out for opportunities if you have the required skills to fill in for the following shortages in the country’s economic sector:

  • advanced ICT
  • engineering
  • artisan
  • executive level finance
  • healthcare
  • executive managerial
  • specialist & academic
  • executive level mining
  • risk management
  • languages

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General South Africa Working Visa

  • General South African working Visas are issued to foreigners where it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that South African citizens and permanent residents with the relevant qualifications or skills and experience are not available for appointment.
  • From time to time the Minister of Home Affairs publishes a critical skills list in a Government Gazette. To apply for a critical skills visa, you must provide proof of qualifications.
  • Occasionally, multinational companies may decide to transfer an existing employee in a key position from a foreign branch to a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of that company in South Africa. Such employees must apply for intra-company transfer work permits.
  • Business visa – you’ll need this if you’re planning to start a business in South Africa. To apply you’ll need to provide a detailed business plan, and proof that your business is compliant with company law and at least 60% of your workforce is South African.
  • A corporate visa is not for individuals, but for corporations. A corporate visa allows a company to employ a set number of foreign workers with Individual Corporate Worker Certificates.

Permanent residence in South Africa is a possibility for employees with certain work visas. Workers are eligible to apply for permanent residence in South Africa after five years of living in the country with a General Work Visa. Individuals with Critical Skills Work Visas may apply for permanent residence permits immediately provided that they have five years of experience in their field.


How to Obtain South African Working Visas

Several facets determine what documentation is needed to apply for a work visa in South Africa. Requirements may vary based on the type of visa being applied for, the applicant’s country of residence, and the embassy in which the application is lodged. Common necessities include:

  • A passport that is valid for at least one month after the applicant’s intended return date
  • Proof of employment in South Africa
  • Medical documentation, such as vaccination records and radiology reports
  • Bank statements to demonstrate sufficient funds
  • Proof of medical insurance for the duration of time to be spent in South Africa

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Work ethics in South Africa

Most employees in South Africa work Monday to Friday, from 9:00 – 17:00. Organizational structure within national companies tends to be hierarchical with decision-making done at the top; however, this is more decentralized in some of the bigger global multinational firms.


You’ll have to register as a new taxpayer with the South African Revenue Service once you’re working. The amount of tax you pay is residence-based. As a non-permanent resident of South Africa, you’ll only be taxed on your South African income.


Permanent residence permit in South Africa

It is possible to apply for a permanent residence permit based on holding a work visa. Anyone who has held a General Work Visa for five years may apply for a Permanent Residence permit. Holders of a Critical Skills Work Visa may apply immediately if they have five years of experience in their field of expertise. Getting a South African permanent resident can earn you a chance to apply for citizenship and enjoy all the benefits every South African citizen enjoys, including visa-free travel to some popular countries in the world.

For critical skills applicants, it is advantageous to have a permanent employment contract or an offer of permanent employment.


Permit residence applications go through the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) head office.

Applying for South Africa Visa extension duration

Prior to the visa extension, you must start your application 90 days before the expiry date for your current visa, which can be made at any Visa Facilitation Centre (VFS) office in South Africa; you can complete the application form online.

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Finding jobs in South Africa

Finding jobs in South Africa is not as complex as it may seem. If one has a prospective job offer and is stuck on visa issues, an immigration consultant or lawyer can call or meet with them to allay any fears a company may have. Some companies may focus on the short-term, wanting only to employ someone who can start within one month’s time or who they can meet immediately. It’s important to be patient when dealing with a possible employer and explain the details of one’s proposed visa.

South Africa has changed a number of laws around the work visa options and while the process is still somewhat arduous, there is now a definite possibility of hiring a foreigner should a company wish to do so.


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