After having successfully managed to secure a work permit in South Africa, I thought I would share my experience with all you hopefuls out there. It is possible so don’t give up just yet!
But before you start, just be prepared – the process is LONG and FRUSTRATING. And be ready for disappointments too. Not all applications are successful – I was rejected the first time around but thankfully was lucky to get the visa second time.
If you already have a job, the chances of getting the visa are much higher and the process easier too. However, I did not have a job offer and hence, this blog post will primarily document my experience.
I did not have an offer of job and hence, could not apply for the General Work Permit. But I was lucky as my job fell under the Critical Skills list – which had been updated last year! This list is updated regularly (annually I think), and so it is important to check if your occupation also falls under this category, and proceed accordingly.
Check if your occupation falls in the Critical Skills list.
Get your SAQA evaluation. This is a proof of evaluation of the foreign qualification by SAQA and translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of the republic.
If you have been educated outside South Africa (most likely to be the case with most of us), then you must submit certified copies of ALL your final certificates and transcripts – undergraduate, masters and any other higher qualification documents.
You will need to fill out an online form, make the payment and then courier or deliver in person all the supporting documents. Once your documents have been authenticated, SAQA will send you their report.
Among the documents required, a police verification certificate (PCC) is probably the one that takes the longest. So get a head start on this one. You need to go to the nearest police station and tell them you have come for a PCC. They will finger print you and make copies of your passport. So remember to carry that. I would also suggest making two copies of your bio page and carrying them along. You will also need to pay a small fee. The police station will then send your data to Pretoria and once the certificate is ready for collection you will get an SMS. You will need to collect the PCC from Pretoria – details of this will be given to you at your police station.
You will also need to get a PCC from each country where you have resided for 12 months or longer after attaining the age of 18 years! So you will have to contact the relevant consulates here in South Africa for those.
Register with a professional body. Although the home affairs website states that only if required by law, one must register with a professional body. However, in my experience this is a prerequisite. So I would definitely advise you to find a professional body that covers your area of expertise and register with them. I have included the list at the bottom of this post.
- If required by law, proof of application for a certificate of registration with the professional body, council or board recognised by SAQA in terms of section 13(1)(i) of the national qualifications framework act;
- A confirmation, in writing, from the professional body, council or board recognised by saqa in terms of section 13(1)(0 of the national qualifications framework act, or any relevant government department confirming the skills or qualifications of the applicant and appropriate post qualification experience, (if not attached, VFS official to check directive 22 of 2014)
The professional body might take a few weeks to issue you with a letter confirming your membership. But do not submit your application without this letter – it might lead to a rejection of your application.
Collect the other documents:
- A medical report not older than 6 months
- A radiological report not older than 6 months
- Marriage certificate or in the case of a foreign spousal relationship, proof of official recognition thereof issued by the authorities of the foreign country of the applicant
- The affidavit where a spousal relationship to a South African citizen or resident is applicable as well as documentation proving cohabitation and the extent to which the related financial responsibilities are shared by the parties and setting out the particulars of children in the spousal relationship
- Proof of sufficient financial means to the value of a minimum of R3 000 in the form of three months bank statements
- A written undertaking by the applicant to ensure that the passport of the applicant shall be valid at all times for the duration of his or her temporary visa)
- A yellow fever vaccination certificate if that person travelled or intends travelling from or transiting through a yellow fever endemic area:
IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A JOB, you need to also submit the below:
- Offer letter clearly stating your position – should match the critical skill you are applying under
- A written undertaking by the employer accepting responsibility for the costs related to the deportation of the applicant and his or her dependent family members, should it become necessary
- A written undertaking by the employer to ensure that the passport of his or her employee is valid at all times for the duration of his or her employment
Fill the online form, pay the fees and get an appointment
Add a cover letter. Although this is not on the list of documents, I realised that adding a cover letter that states clearly the critical skill you are applying under, really helps. Despite having specified everything very clearly on the form, my visa application was rejected the first time and the reason given was that I had not specified the critical skill!!
Keep your fingers crossed and pray hard!
Official processing time is about +/- 8 weeks but it is usually a minimum of 8 weeks, going upwards.
Important websites and links:
- VFS online Application
- SAQA Foreign Qualifications Evaluation
- List of Professional Bodies recognised by SAQA (xlsx file)
- Government Departments
- Critical Skills List