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South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa FAQs


Applying for a Critical Skills Work Permit for South Africa

An Exceptional Skills Visa may be issued to a foreigner who is an expert in their field. They have been very successful in their chosen profession and are offering a unique skill set that is valuable to the South African sector that they will be working in. They are bringing value socially, economically, environmentally, or in any environment in which they will operate. This visa is not restricted to those in academic professions. In many cases, we have secured this visa for exceptionally skilled artists, musicians, social activists, and entrepreneurs who are leaders in their industry.

The nice thing about this visa is that if one qualifies, one can change employers at will and it offers immediate rights to apply for Permanent Residency for the applicant and their immediate family.

As a country with a growing economy and a developing manufacturing sector, South Africa requires a large number of skilled workers in various positions. For this reason, many foreigners are employed in South Africa. Any person who is not a citizen of South Africa and who wish to work in the country needs to apply for a Work Visa.

What is critical skills work visa?

There are some skills and qualifications which are regarded as exceptional by the South African government. A person who has such skills or qualifications may obtain a Critical Skills Work Visa.

  • It allows you to get a work visa without a job offer.
  • It allows you to enter and stay in South Africa for 3 to 12 months to secure a position.
  • Is based on a well researched list of occupations that are badly needed in South Africa, increasing your chances of finding a job.
  • No restrictions in terms of the numbers in each listed occupation.
  • No department of labour recommendation so quicker turnaround times.
  • Can be a pathway to permanent residence immediately as well an immediate 5 year working visa.
  • Freedom to move between employers.
  •  Less obligation on employers.

 What is the Critical skill list? Which profession qualify?

  • Business, Economics and Management Studies.
  • Information Communication & Technology.
  • Engineering.
  • Life and Earth Sciences Ex: Bio informatician, Chemical Scientist, Environmental Engineers, etc
  • Professionals and Associate Professional, Ex: All technicians like Electronic Engineering technician, Chemical Engineering technician, Civil Engineering technician, etc

Trades, Ex: Industrial Machinery Mechanic, etc
Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
Academics and Researchers: Doctoral Graduates (Acquired abroad), Research in any of the following areas like Software Development for Radio Astronomy, Data and Streaming – Real -Time Processing of Massive Data Amounts, etc

Note: For more information, contact your Immigration consultant to check if you qualify

Who will qualify for critical skills work visa?

Anybody who has formal qualifications in any of the above areas and a minimum of 3 to 5 years practical experience can apply for a critical skills work permit.

In order to obtain this visa, the applicant does not have to secure a specific position of employment at the time of application. The legislation does not specify what qualifies as exceptional, but a relevant South African organization needs to confirm the applicant’s skills or qualifications in writing.

What is the maximum period of validity of the visa?

The Critical Skills Work Visa is valid for a maximum period of 3 to 12 months and once you obtain the job and you can apply for the Critical Skills Work Permit which will be valid for 3 to 5 years, and extension is possible.

When can I apply for PR?

After 5 years of stay in South Africa, you may apply for PR

How do I need to get Qualification or Skill assessment done?

You need to have your formal qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). If required by the authority, you need to get the skill assessment done through the relevant professional body.

What is SAQA?

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is a statutory body, regulated in terms of the National Qualifications Framework Act No 67 of 2008.[2] It is made up of 29 members appointed by the Minister of Education in consultation with the Minister of Labour. SAQA is mandated by legislation to oversee the development and implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).


Do I need to have my qualifications assessed before applying for a visa?
Yes, In order to apply under the critical skilled work visa category it is necessary to obtain a formal assessment by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) before you can lodge your visa application. This applies only if your qualifications were obtained at a University or other Tertiary educational institution outside of South Africa.

What is the fee for qualification assessment and skill assessment including professional registration**?

A. Basic Evaluation (delivery within 20 working days*): ZAR580 or INR 3270 (Approx)

B. Fast tracking (delivery within 10 working days*): ZAR960 or INR 5412 (Approx)


**Note:  SAQA will determine and decide whether applicant must get skill assessment or to register his/her occupations with the relevant Trade/Professional Board or Council within South Africa or not. If required, SAQA may or may not ask the proof of application for a certificate of registration with the relevant accredited professional body, council or board recognized by SAQA.

Please contact your consultant for the registration. Y-Axis fee doesn’t include the service charge for registration.

What are the payment methods?

Payments must be in South African Rand value and can be made in one of the ways listed below:

  • Crossed postal orders in the favor of SAQA.
  • Cash deposit slip – cash deposit or electronic transfer in favour of SAQA, to Standard Bank Account no 010516433, Branch no 01004.
  • Electronic transfer.

What is the processing time for the visa?

The process time is 2-3 months

What is application visa fee?

Embassy Visa fee : ZAR1613 or INR 9100 (Appox) and D/D has  to be paid at the embassy during  application submission.

Repatriation guarantee Deposit: INR 40,000 also needs to be paid at the time of application submission.

What is repatriation guarantee and why is it required?

The deposit i.r.o. repatriation guarantee is an amount of money that the South African Government receives to cover possible repatriation costs in case it is necessary to send a person back to his/her country (for example, if the holder of a study/work permit lets it expire without applying for renewal/extension, or if he/she fails in informing the Department of Home Affairs about any change in its conditions as prescribed by law.) Bank guarantees by South African citizens or permanent residents are not acceptable instead of this deposit. To get to this amount the cost of a one way ticket from South Africa to home country of applicant has been considered

In the case of Work and Workseeker’s Permits, the deposit i.r.o. repatriation guarantee must be paid if the Department of Home Affairs so requires once the application is approved –therefore, applicants are advised to bear this in mind when they submit an application for Work / Workseeker’s Permit

When can I get the repatriation guarantee back?

In the case of holders of a StudyWork or other categories of Permit who apply for Permanent Residence while legally resident in the country (i.e. on valid Study/Work permits), the deposit will be refunded at the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa once the Permanent Residence Permit has been approved.

Else once the applicant comes back after their stay in South Africa without any issues then they can claim the same after they produce the receipt at the South African consulate where they had submitted the application.

Where do I submit the application?

The person need to apply for and receive visa at the nearest South African Consulate, Embassy or High Commission in their respective country where the applicant resides. In India, The embassy is located at Delhi and the consulate is located at Mumbai. Applicants can file their visa at any of these places.

Can I submit an enquiry to find out if I’m eligible to apply for a Critical Skills Visa?

Yes, you can request with Y-Axis Overseas Careers and Immigration, or email: or simply call us: Toll Free: 1800-425-1577. Our friendly consultants will contact you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and your options to see whether you are eligible to apply for the Critical Skills Visa.

Who can apply for the Critical skill visa?

If your profession is in the critical skill list and you possess the required education and work experience in the same field, you are eligible to apply 

Can apply for a Critical Skills Visa if I have no formal qualifications? I have at least 5 years of experience.

No, in order to qualify for the Critical Skills Visa, you need to have formal qualifications and the skills and education have to be related

I have formal qualifications but no experience?

You need to have an experience of 3+ years in the profession mentioned in the critical skill list

I have obtained my PhD in South Africa as a foreigner; can I apply for a Critical Skills Visa?

Yes, you can apply for the Critical Skills Visa.

Can I switch between employers?

Yes you may, just as long as you are employed in the same occupation category you applied for.

If I hold a valid temporary South African work visa; can I apply for a Critical Skills Visa in South Africa?

Yes you may apply for a change of status in South Africa. All first time application must be submitted in your home country.

Can I bring my family?

A spouse and dependent children of a holder of a Critical Skills Work Visa shall be issued with an appropriate visa valid for a period that does not exceed the period of validity of the applicant’s Critical Skills Work Visa

Can I renew my Critical Skills Visa in South Africa?

Yes you can renew in South Africa and this has to be done at least 60 days before your Critical Skills Visa expires.

Will I secure employment in South Africa?

The Critical Skills Visa has been introduced to fill the huge gap of skills shortages in South Africa. Applicants will have no problem in securing employment, provided they research the market and start applying for jobs in South Africa.

For further details, please Contact Us or you can e-mail us on One of our representatives will get back to you at the earliest.










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