Migrating to South Africa
As specialist immigration consultants, Brighter Candidates can call upon our South Africa immigration-lawyer expertise to help you navigate through the visa options.
South African visas fall into two categories – temporary residence permits, or permanent residence permits.
Whilst the latter category is devoted to permanent immigration via business/family-based routes, the temporary group includes Work Permits, Study Visas and Visitor Visas.
Work Permits allow applicants to live and work in South Africa for an agreed period, subject to the job-offer requirement. However, whilst temporary visas are not designated permanent-residency routes, with the exception of Intra-Company Transfers, their validity is extendable.
A Work Permit is initially valid for up to one year, but provided the application is timely, can be extended if the position of employment is still viable.
Work permits are issued either as a general Work Permit; in accordance with a quota system, or on grounds of exceptional ability.
General work permits require a specific job offer to be in place prior to application.
The application process is employer-led and the prospective employer must also demonstrate that the position has been advertised, and that no local candidate could be found. In addition, applications must confirm the prospective candidate has the skills and experience to fulfil the position.
In detail, applications in this category must demonstrate that:
- An advertisement has featured in print media;
- Domestic applicants did apply, but were unsuitable;
- The salary is consistent with current South African levels of remuneration.
The quota system allows candidates in skill-shortage professions to apply for temporary residence without the 'job offer' restriction.
Quota Work Permits are popular because the waiver on the job requirement means employers do not need to advertise before employing a foreign national.
However, applications must still demonstrate the applicant has appropriate skills and five years' relevant experience.
Importantly, successful candidates must confirm employment has been secured within 3months (90 days) of issue of their permit.
The professions in which quotas operate, and the places allocated, are subject to change.
Verification of exceptional ability by a reputable body is essential, and must accompany all applications.
Each case will be assessed upon its merits and the claimed ability must prove consistent with this route.
The final work permit open to foreign nationals is the Intra-Company Transfer. This allows employees to transfer between South African- and foreign branches of a company to engage in a specific temporary position.
Though Work Visas are not a pathway to permanent resident status, candidates may extend their permits or ultimately apply for a permanent residence permit. Consequently, applicants may relocate to South Africa for a period of several years, and thus spouse and dependent immigration is permitted.
February 12, 2015