All-In-One Guide for South Africa Work Permit

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Written By Albert Roy

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This all-in-one guide is all you need to learn about the South African work permit. It covers various important aspects, including work permit costs, requirements, job-seeker visas, and sponsor visas. Whether a student or a worker, you can benefit from this helpful guide.

Getting a job offer from a South African company is a matter of celebration. The prospect of moving to a foreign country and working there can be exciting. However, it is essential to figure out the South Africa work permit or visa requirements before celebrating. Luckily, the process of obtaining a South African visa is relatively easy. In this article, we shall bring to light the various types of work permits and their requirements.

Let Us Now Dive Right into It:

The Department of Home Affairs is the deciding authority for all South African work permits. The logistics of the South African department are unique, but there are several similarities in the immigration rules and requirements with other countries. Like several other countries, a job offer is one of the mandatory works permit South Africa requirements.

If you are an exceptionally qualified candidate, you can apply for a Critical Skills Work Visa. For this type of visa, you do not need a job offer. You have the liberty to look for jobs once you move there. The country welcomes nearly three million immigrants annually. 3/4th of these immigrants belongs to Africa, while others are from Europe.

Who Needs a Work Permit in South Africa?

For starters, everyone who does not hail from the continent needs a work permit in South Africa. If you are not a permanent resident or citizen of SA, you require a work permit. However, there are some exceptions to this. Heavy-duty vehicle drivers, individuals working for the Southern African Development Community or the United Nations, etc., do not require work permits. In addition, foreign military members invited by the South African National Defence Force also fall under this category.

If you plan on visiting the country, you must check the visa-exempt countries and professions list maintained by the South African government. Let us now explore the types of work visas in South Africa.

Types of Work Visas in South Africa

There are several types of work visas prevalent in South Africa. We shall highlight their requirements and eligibility criteria. In addition, we will bring to light South Africa Work Visa cost.

Types of work visas/permits:

  • General Work Visa
  • Critical Skills Work Visa
  • Job Seeker Visa

General Work Visa

General work visas are used by immigrants seeking employment from a particular employer in South Africa. It is mandatory to have an employment/job offer before applying for such visas. Another vital requirement for visa approval is proof that there were no qualified candidates in Africa. The employer must justify their decision to hire an immigrant over a native.

There are several documents required to be shown by the employer. These can be found online at VFS Global. It is the official portal of the Department of Home Affairs. The General Work Visa length is equivalent to the duration of the job. However, the maximum time limit is five years.

Critical Skills Work Visa

This type of visa is for exceptionally trained and qualified candidates. These candidates are immigrants who can fill positions in a country with a labor shortage. The Minister of Home Affairs publishes all such employment positions. These employment fields include engineering, information technology, life sciences, and others.

To apply for such visas, a candidate does not need a job offer from an employer in the country. However, they must prove their competence, qualification, and experience through a recognized professional body.

Job Seeker Visa

The South Africa job seeker visa can be defined as a temporary residence permit that allows the candidate to live in the country for 90 days. Throughout these 90 days, the candidate can search for a job and, if successful, can apply for the South Africa Quota work permit. This is issued for five years and can be extended according to the employment duration.

There are specific eligibility requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to obtain the permit successfully. These include:

  • A minimum of 5 years experience in the opted field.
  • Bachelor’s Degree is the minimum educational qualification. ( assessed by SAQA)
  • You need to prove your ability to support your stay. (fund requirements)
  • Health and character requirements

If the candidate can successfully get a job during their 90-day stay, then apply for the Quota work permit; otherwise, return to their home country. If the candidate successfully works in South Africa for a minimum of 5 years, they can apply for a South African Permanent Residency.


As mentioned above, obtaining a South African work permit is relatively easy. All you need to do is satisfy all eligibility criteria and present the required documents. All information regarding work permits is available on the official government portals and websites. One can also find helpful information on the South Africa sponsor visa there.

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