South Africa Critical Skills Work Permit Visa | Y-Axis ✅


South Africa is a key player in the economic boom that Africa is undergoing. As these countries modernise and grow, the demand for skilled talent continues to rise.

The South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa is your key to working and settling in South Africa.

One of the most beautiful countries in the world, South Africa has seen a dramatic rise in its economic and cultural profile in the past two decades. It also has a thriving expat community with Indian, British, Dutch and other nationalities calling it home. Y-Axis can help you leverage this opportunity and establish yourself in South Africa.

South Africa’s Critical Skills Work Visa is a permit issued to individuals that have exceptional skills/qualifications considered to be scarce in the country.

Skills or qualifications, that is, determined “to be critical for the Republic of South Africa in relation to an application for a critical skills work visa or permanent residence permit”.

A critical skills work visa might be issued for a period not exceeding five years. In situations wherein there is no job offer in South Africa, a critical skills visa will be issued for a period not beyond one year.

If an applicant has already been issued a Critical Skills Work Visa for a year, the extension of the same can’t exceed four years till the next renewal.

The spouse and children (dependent) of the holder of a South Africa critical skills work visa will be issued with a suitable visa valid for a period not more than the validity of the critical skills visa.

South Africa Critical Skills Work Permit Visa Details

The South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa is aimed at skilled professionals whose occupation is on the critical shortage occupation list. It allows workers holding this visa to visit South Africa and search for a job. Once the applicant has found a job, he or she can then convert it to a work permit. Key features of the South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa are:

  • An applicant can enter South Africa without a job offer
  • Visa is based on skills and qualification as per the Critical Skills list defined by the South Africa Department of Home Affairs
  • Visa is initially granted for 12 months and is extendable as per the Authority
  • Applicant needs to find a job within the Visa grant period
  • Visa is then extended to 5 years to a Critical Skills Work Permit
  • No need to go through the onerous labor certification process which is required for a General Work Visa application

On February 2, 2022, a new critical skills list was released by South Africa’s Minister of Home Affairs, Aaron Motsoaledi. The previous list came out in 2014.

A clear focus on engineering, financial, technology, and medical sectors can be seen, showing a definite shift in the country’s requirements.

Many skills on the 2014 list have been completely excluded.

Application requirements for a South Africa Critical Skills Visa:
  • Completed permanent residency application form
  • Receipt of payment of applicable application fee.
  • Copy of birth certificate.
  • Complete biometrics.
  • Yellow fever vaccination certificate where applicable.
  • Provide police clearance certificates
  • Submit medical reports
  • Submit marriage certificate
  • Include birth certificates of dependent children
  • Proof that your skills belong to the critical skills category
  • Certificate of registration with the professional body.
  • Proof of post-qualification experience of at least five years.
  • Testimonials from previous employers
  • Letter of motivation proving that the critical skills of the applicant will benefit South Africa
Documents Required

The documentation required for the South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa includes:

  • Current passport and travel history
  • Educational credentials
  • Professional credentials
  • Recent medical report
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Other supporting documents
How Y-Axis Can Help You?

Y-Axis has the knowledge and experience to advise you at every step of your South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa application. 

Your Y-Axis consultant can guide you through the process and help you file an application with the highest chances of success talk to us today.

What is the Critical Skills Work Visa?

South Africa’s Critical Skills visa allows non-South African nationals that have exceptional qualifications and skills, considered to be scarce in South Africa, to live and work in the country.

In June 2014, the South African Critical Skills Visa was developed by the South African Department of Home Affairs to help the country bring in the skills and expertise necessary to meet the objectives set out in its national economic infrastructure projects.

Potential immigrants must have experience in an occupation on the South African Critical Skills list in order to be eligible for a Critical Skills visa.

Who can apply for South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa?

Only those people can apply that have their occupation listed in the Critical Skills List.

Where can I check the Critical Skills List?

As per reports, the Critical Skills List is published in the Government Gazette.

What is the processing time?

The official processing time is about 30 to 40 days. Do keep in mind that it can take much longer than this in certain cases.

Where it is lodged varies by the Embassy/High Commission. It is suggested that 6-8 weeks are required. The South African High Commission, for instance, takes 4 weeks in the US; it takes 1 month in the UK; and it takes 3 weeks in Australia.

Do I need a job offer to apply?

No. A specific job offer is not needed for being eligible. Nevertheless, you will be required to find a job within 1 year of obtaining the visa.

Visas are issued on the basis that the applicant can show that they have the requisite expertise and qualifications in that particular field of occupation, as stated on the Essential Skills List of more than 200 occupations for which there is a shortage of these skills.

What is the basic step-by-step process for applying for South Africa’s Critical Skills Work Visa?

Step 1: Check if your profession is on the Department of Home Affairs’ Critical Skills List.

Step 2: Get your evaluation done by South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Step 3: Get your skill assessment by any of the professional bodies/councils recognized by SAQA.

Step 4: Proof of sufficient financial means.

Step 5: Proof of accommodation when in South Africa.

Step 6: Employment contract and other supporting documents. This is an optional step and will be required only when you will be applying with a job offer.

Step 7: Arranging miscellaneous documents –

  • Duly completed DHA-1738 form
  • Birth Certificate, certified copy
  • Passport-sized photos (2)
  • Passport, with at least 2 blank pages and expiry not less than 30 days after the expected date of departure from South Africa
  • Updated CV
  • Medical Certificate. Not older than 6 months at the time of submission. Get the Medical certificate form here.
  • Radiologist Report. Not older than 6 months at submission. Get Form here.
  • Academic qualifications – certificates, transcripts, degrees etc.
  • Extract from the Government Gazette with the critical skill clearly encircled. You will have to submit just the page that mentions your critical skill, and not the printout of the entire Gazette.
  • Cover Letter, with your personal details – name, address, contact etc. – and stating that you are applying for a Critical Skills Visa.
  • Police Clearance Certificate from each of the countries that you have lived in for 12 months or more since turning 18 years old.
  • From previous employers – at least 2 testimonials/recommendations/references.

Step 8: Submitting your visa application.

Where can I submit my visa application in India?

Depending on your country, you will be required to submit your visa application at South Africa Embassy/Consulate or a VFS Centre.

If you are in India, you will have to apply at any of the VFS Visa application centres that is competent to handling your application.

What is SAQA?

If you wish to study/work in South Africa and have educational qualifications from outside South Africa, you will be required to get an evaluation of your qualifications from South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Applying for work permits in South Africa requires the applicant to submit a SAQA certificate of evaluation as well.

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is the oversight body of the NQF and the custodian of its values and quality character.

Functions of SAQA

The role of SAQA is to oversee the further development and implementation of the NQF, and co-ordinate the Sub-Frameworks. SAQA’s functions include:

· Oversee NQF implementation and collaborate with the Quality Councils

· Develop and implement NQF policies and criteria

· Register qualifications and part-qualifications on the NQF

· Recognise professional bodies and register professional designations

· Undertake research and collaborate with international counterparts

· Maintain the National Learners’ Records Database

· Provide an evaluation and advisory service with respect to foreign qualifications

· Inform the public about the NQF

· Provide advice to the Minister of Higher Education and Training

Why is SAQA evaluation necessary?

SAQA evaluation determines the level of the corresponding National Qualifications Framework that your foreign qualifications would be equivalent to.

The assessment purpose is intended to identify international qualifications in compliance with the South African National Qualifications System (NQF).

As stated in the above policy and requirements, the role is an integral part of a national recognition value chain. The focus of the role of SAQA is on the position within the NQF of foreign qualifications.

Unique internal standards and requirements must be fulfilled for admission to study; professional licencing; and jobs.

What are the SAQA recognized bodies for skill assessment?

The list of professional bodies recognized by SAQA can be accessed here.

What is the cost of the visa application?

The cost will be R1,520 if the application is made in South Africa, the cost may vary by country and currency. There could be additional costs in the form of fees to an agency or submission fees.

What is the application process for the critical skills visa?

You must apply in person at a South African embassy or consulate; however, petitioners are not required to schedule an appointment ahead of time. After that, you must complete the application form in its entirety as accurately as possible.

Finally, you must present a number of supporting documents demonstrating your eligibility for this form of work permit.

What is the processing time?

Although the South African authorities strive to assess applications within 30 to 40 business days of receipt, processing times vary.

Please keep in mind that depending on the exact request, it could take much longer. This is particularly true for applications that demand more documentation or information. In that scenario, the petitioner will be contacted personally to arrange for the missing things to be delivered.

Delays are also possible due to the proximity of public holidays and the volume of applications received by the embassy or consulate.

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