There has never been a better time to be a foreigner and be a qualified professional in South Africa. The published critical skills list provides an extensive list of skills considered to be critical for the republic. While the visa category is not significantly different from its predecessor, the Quota Work Permit, it certainly provides better opportunities to those professionals in possession of the skills to apply for permanent residence. We will highlight those key differences and outline what makes this visa a prime avenue for securing permanent residence in South Africa.

Perhaps the most significant change is the removal; of the 5 year post qualification experience criteria from the visa`s requirements. Under the Quota work permit category applicants were required to show that they had 5 years post qualification experience before applying for the temporary residence permit or the permanent residence permit. This I no longer the case as applicants are now required to demonstrate that they possess “appropriate industry specific experience”. It is not clear what is considered appropriate industry specific experience, however what is clear is that 5 years is no longer a requirement.

The above is the same standard for an application permanent residence; Applicants are required to show that;

  1. The applicant possesses a critical skill
  2. The applicant is in receipt of an offer for a permanent position of employment
  3. The position was advertised as prescribed and no suitably qualified SA citizen or permanent resident was available.

What this means is that a holder of a Critical Skill or a Critical Skills Work Visa may approach the Department immediately to apply for permanent residence and need not wait 5 years before they applying for permanent residence, provided they comply with all the other requirements. This permanent residence can also be extended to the accompanying family members of the applicant.

The draw back, if it can be considered as one, is that the permit is issued on condition that the applicant remains employed on the same field ( not post or company) for 5 years. What is not clear however is how the Department will enforce this provision. No mechanism has been announced on how to prove that the holder remains employed in same field.

For assistance with this permanent residence application you can contact us at our our offices and speak to one of our specialists.