The Critical Skills Work Visa is perhaps the most progressive move in the Immigration Act by the Department of Home Affairs. South Africa is dogged by a severe skills shortage and government has long recognized this as can be seen in the previous Act that had a quota work permit and the Exceptional or Extra- ordinary skills work permits. These two have now since been repealed under the new laws and have seen the introduction of what can described as a hybrid of the two, keeping the good element of both types of work permits and doing away with the bad. We expand on the Critical skills work visa and shed some light on this progressive Visa.

The primary basis of this visa is that an applicant who possesses a skill and / or qualification that is considered to be critical for the country may apply for the work visa. The Minister of Home Affairs has published an extensive list of skills that are considered to be critical for the republic and foreigners who possess these skills may approach the department to submit an application for the Critical Skills Work Visa. A notable exclusion in the list of critical skills is the category of Maths and Science teachers. Given the country`s well documented challenges in the Maths and Science field one would have expected that the Maths and Science Teacher would top the list. Another notable omission is the exclusion of the Arts, for example, painters, sculptures musicians etc. Nevertheless there are a number of skills cutting across virtually every filed of expertise.

Perhaps the most attractive element this work visa is that the applicant does not need to have an employer when applying nor does he or she need a prescribed minimum amount of years of experience. This is a significant shift from the 5 years post qualification experience previously required under the quota work permit. The other important change is that there are no quotas under the critical skills work visa which means there is no limit to amount of visas issued under this section.

On the subject of not requiring an employer to qualify, the Act simply requires that the applicant demonstrate that he or she has the sufficient financial means in the form of a 3 months bank statement showing at least R3000 monthly. However without an employer the applicant is only entitled to a 1 year visa with a condition that he or she secures employment within that year. Certain skills categories require that the applicant secure employment within that year failing which the visa will not be renewed whilst others, specifically the scientific professionals, can get an extension without the employer. However should an applicant secure an employer he or she ci entitled to up to 5 years on the work visa dependent of course on the duration of the work contract.

The accompanying family of the holder of the critical skills work visa may apply for the accompanying family visas which are issued for the same duration as the Critical Skills work visa. The biggest bonus is that the holder of a critical skills work visa and his family can apply for permanent residence without having to wait 5 years.

Contact us for advise regarding the Critical skills work Visa or any other immigration related matter