South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa


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South Africa Critical Skills Visa Guide - 2021

South Africa plays a major role in contributing to Africa's thriving economy. This country was ranked as the top ‘African Country of the Future’ based on its economic potential, labour environment; cost effectiveness, infrastructure and business friendliness.

When it comes to immigration, this country hosts the most immigrants than any other African country. To boost the movement of people into its land, the South African government has introduced the ‘Critical Skills Work Visa’ which allows potential foreign nationals to enter South Africa and search for a job.

This visa is aimed at attracting skilled professionals whose occupation is on the ‘Critical Shortage Occupation List’. The Critical Skills Work Visa assists the South African government in attracting fresh and experienced foreign nationals who want to work in the country and take advantage of its benefits.

What is the South Africa Critical Skills Work Visa?

This South African Critical Skills Visa is a Temporary Residency Visa that allows foreign nationals to legally live in the country and work there for up to a period of 5 years. This visa aims to attract skilled professionals in the country whose profession is on the 'Critical Shortage Occupations List'. After gaining employment in the South African soil, the applicant can convert this visa into a Work Permit.


  • You can relocate to South Africa without a job offer
  • The visa is valid for 12 months (can be extended to 5 years to a Critical Skills Work Permit)
  • A certificate from the Department of Labor is not necessary
  • You have time to hunt for work during the Visa grant period
  • This visa allows for the inclusion of spouses and dependent family members, such as children
  • To receive this visa, your current occupation must be on the South African Department of Home Affairs' Critical Skills List
  • Under specific conditions, this visa allows you to seek for permanent residency in the country

Documents Required for a South African Critical Skills Visa

1.Educational Credentials and Qualifications

  • High school Certificates
  • Diplomas/Degrees
  • Transcripts
  • In case your documents are in any other regional language, you may have to get it translated

2.Professional Credentials

You must demonstrate your professional and employment credentials if you are applying for a temporary visa to work in South Africa under the critical shortage occupations list. Following is a list of professional documents to be submitted by applicants:

  • Reference letters from your current and previous employers
  • Experience letters from your current and previous employers
  • Appointment letters issued by your current and previous employers
  • Relieving letter issued by your previous employers
  • Recent payslips or salary slips
  • Proof of membership with a professional organization

3.Documentation Proving Identity and Civil Status

  • Passport (valid for minimum 12 months)
  • PAN Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate.
  • Voter ID
  • Aadhar Card

4.Passport and Travel History

  • Your passport details
  • Details of your past abroad travels. This includes a copy of all your current and expired visas.
  • While applying for a Temporary Visa under the Critical Skills Visa, we recommend scanning all pages of your passport.

5.Recent Medical Reports

  • A medical certificate to determine your health and fitness. This is to ensure that you are in good health and fit enough to carry out the roles required in your industry
  • Blood tests, X-rays, eye exams, medical tests for STDs and venereal disease, and other tests will be necessary at an approved hospital or pathological testing centre as indicated by the South African immigration authorities.

6.Police Clearance Certificate

  • This document helps the immigration office in determining whether you have been involved in or convicted of any criminal activity in your home country
  • You may also need to obtain a police clearance certificate from each nation where you spent more than six months
  • This certificate cannot be older than six months from the date of your application, and it must also include your most recent photograph

Supporting Documents

To apply for a temporary residence visa under the Critical Skills Visa, you must also submit the following supporting documents:

  • A properly filled up online form. Hand filled forms will not be accepted
  • Marriage certificate in case you are planning to migrate with your spouse
  • Birth certificate or any other government-issued documents if you wish to migrate with your dependent children
  • Payment slip for your Visa Application Fees

What are the Fees Involved in Applying for a Critical Skills Visa?

To apply for a South African Critical Skills Visa, you must pay an application fee of INR 1520. Depending on your nationality and the country from which you are applying, you may have to pay an extra biometrics charge.

Here’s the cost for all work visas in South Africa:

Category DHA fees VFS fees
General Work Visa ZAR 1520 ZAR 1350
Critical Skills Visa ZAR 1520 ZAR 1350
Corporate Work Visa ZAR 1520 ZAR 1350
Intra Company Transfer Work Visa ZAR 1520 ZAR 1350
Exchange Visa (Work) ZAR 1520 ZAR 1350
Business Visa ZAR 1520 ZAR 1350

Important FAQs

  • Academics and Researchers in various fields
  • Actuaries and Risk Assessors, Corporate General Managers, External Auditors, etc
  • Agricultural Engineer, Agricultural Scientist, and Forestry Technician
  • Architectural Professionals
  • Business Process Outsourcing professionals
  • Engineers in all fields
  • Healthcare and clinical sciences professionals
  • Information Technology and Communication Specialists
  • Life and Earth Sciences specialists
  • Engineering surveyors
  • Tradespersons
  • Your occupation must be recognized by SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) and registered with a professional body in South Africa. Along with your visa application, you must provide proof of registration
  • Any foreign qualification must be evaluated by SAQA and translated into one of the eleven official languages of the Republic
  • You must demonstrate that you have the necessary knowledge and capabilities to fill a position on the vital skills list
  • Please check that your profession is listed under the ‘shortage occupational skills' and there is a demand for your profession in the South African employment and labour market
  • The Critical Skills Job Seeker visa can be used to look for work. This implies that you can stay in South Africa for up to 12 months and search for a job
  • Once you get employed within the visa validity period, you can extend the visa into a 5-year South African Work Permit

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