In the modern day world of Business being able to secure the right skills as quickly and painlessly as possible can be the key to ensuring long-term business sustainability. This need is amplified when the labour market is riddled with a shortage of skilled manpower locally and pressing deadlines. The company has no choice but to look beyond the borders for much needed skilled labour. The challenge is greater when the skilled manpower is only required for a short period of time where the common work visa`s are not available.  For instance, if an assignment in South Africa is for less than 3 months the work visas are not available as they are issued for a minimum period   6 months and the only available visa is a Visitors Visa.  However one cannot legally conduct any work on a visitors visa and whilst many proceed to work whilst on a visitors visa, this is a business risk which can have severe consequences on the part of the Visitor and the company as a whole.

Fortunately there is a solution in the form of Work Authorisation in terms of Section 11(2) of the Immigration Act. The Section 11(2) Work Authorisation is not a visa but rather an authorisation conduct specific skilled work for a short-term period.  This option has been available prior to the May 2014 amendments and has remained largely unchanged under the new immigration amendment Acts. The significant difference however is that the work Authorisation has to be applied for via the South African mission in the foreigners home country versus the application via E-mail to the Section 11(2) unit.

So who can make use of this authorisation? The authorisation is aimed a Skilled labour, for example, Engineers needed to conduct a quality assurance project with Eskom, Chefs for a boutique Hotel during a season, learners attending short course. Basically anyone needed to conduct an activity other than being a tourist.  So your regular cricket teams visiting for the T20 championships, the visiting soccer team for abroad or that technician conducting systems testing at Telkom etc, must have the requisite authorisation got conduct these activities whilst in the Republic.

The primary basis for the work authorisation stems from Section 43 of the Act, which provides that every foreigner has an obligation, comply with the individual terms and conditions attached to his or her visa. Failing which that visa ceases to valid and the holder thereof is an illegal foreigner and must be deported or depart.  Companies and individuals alike must comply with the law and from a compliance perspective it is essential to ensure that your short-term staff has the appropriate authorisation to conduct the activities they are engaged in at your premises. Failure to comply could have serious ramifications on operations and there can be a financial risk in the form of fines issued by the department.

To secure the appropriate authorisation applicant may approach the South African Mission in their home country and lodge an application for the appropriate authorisation prior to departing from the republic.  Some of the requirements are, Letter from the hosting company detailing the nature of the assignment and  a series of undertakings required by the department, proof that the company is in fact registered , brief  CV of applicant reflecting skill and a copy of the applicant passport. Processing times are generally faster than the normal visa application as the authorisation is geared towards an expeditious process.

For more information of the Work Authorization kindly contact Strategies Migration Services South Africa for more information or assistance.