The Critical Skills Work Visa emanates from the merger of the former Exceptional Skills and Quota Work visas. The latter was issued in line with the Quota List of 2009, which had skills categories, requirements, and the quota of skills targeted in the Republic of South Africa. The Critical Skills work visa is issued in accordance with the critical skills list. The list was developed in conjunction with the occupations in high demand and the scarce skills lists of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).
Candidates who possess skills as specified on the critical skills list as published by the Department of Home Affairs, would qualify for a visa in this category.
Typical skills listed on the critical skills list are engineers, corporate general managers, scientists, physicists, technicians, architects, quantity surveyors, risk assessors, integrated developers, IT specialists, health professionals, industrial pharmacists, tradesman, specialist support foreign language speakers, academic etc. Please click here for a full list of critical skills.
Under Section 19(4) of the ACT, a Critical Skills Work Visa is granted on a showing that the applicant possesses such skills or qualifications. Current regulations requires the applicant to corroborate these facts by way of confirmation in writing from the accredited professional body, council or board recognized by SAQA or any relevant government Department confirming the applicant’s skills or qualifications and appropriate post qualification experience.
Critical skills visas are valid for a maximum period of 5 years, and are renewable.
To apply in South Africa, the applicant must apply before their current visa expires (preferably 60 days before expiry), alternatively they will be required to apply in their home country or country of residence.
Click here to send your updated resume to firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm whether you qualify for a Critical Skills Work Visa.
A critical skills work visa is granted on a showing that the applicant possesses such skills or qualifications. Current regulations requires the applicant to corroborate these facts by way of confirmation in writing from the accredited professional body, council or board recognized by SAQA or any relevant government Department confirming the applicant’s skills or qualifications and appropriate post qualification experience. This is the only work visa which does not restrict its holder to work for any specific employer, although the holder of such permit may engage in work only within the field of his demonstrated expertise. This permit is also granted for a period not exceeding five years.
The following quintessential documents must be submitted, inter alia, with the application (we can assist with these as required):
- Confirmation in writing from the accredited professional body, council or board recognised by SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) or any relevant government department confirming the candidate’s skills or qualifications and where appropriate post qualification experience
- Proof of evaluation of foreign qualification, by SAQA. The required documents for this evaluation include:
- Certified copy of qualification
- Certified copy of academic transcripts
- Certified copy of passport title page
- Proof that the candidate has secured employment within 12 months of obtaining the critical skills visa in the form of an employment contract specifying the occupation and capacity in which you shall be employed (where proof of employment is not submitted, the visa may only be issued for a period of 12 months after which the candidate will be required to renew the visa with proof of employment).
Submissions in South Africa
Applications submitted in South Africa at the VFS office take approximately 4 – 8 weeks.
- Department of Home Affairs Application Fee – R1520
- VFS Service Fee – R1350
Applications that are submitted abroad in the applicants home country or country of permanent residence are generally processed within 30 days, this may differ slightly from one foreign mission to the next.
An amount equal to R1520 in local currency
- There is no need to have a job offer in hand when applying for a critical skills Work Visa, you have a 12 month period within which to secure a position
- In practice, you are offered a 1 year visa during which time you may enter South Africa, you are then able to renew for the full 5 year period once you have secured a position. This renewal can be done in South Africa
- A Department of Labour certificate is not required which allows for quicker turnaround times
- Foreign qualification must be evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to determine their local equivalent. Qualifications obtained in South Africa do not need to be evaluated by SAQA
- No study authorisation is required for Critical Skills Visas holders