South Africa’s growing economy, warm climate, and rich cultural history make the country an excellent choice for expanding businesses. However, some companies are deterred by the complex employment laws and regulations surrounding work visas and permits for non-residents in South Africa.
Types of work visas in South Africa
South Africa has several different types of work visas, including:
- General Work Visa: This is the most common type of visa for non-residents seeking employment in South Africa. This visa is valid for up to 5 years and can be renewed if necessary.
- Intracompany Transfer Visa (ICT): This visa is for individuals who are employed by multinational companies and transferred to work in South Africa.
- Critical Skills Work Visa: Highly skilled professionals may be eligible for this visa, which allows non-residents to come to South Africa without the prerequisite of a job offer. Although applicants do not need to be in possession of an offer of employment at the time of application, the visa is issued for a maximum of 12 months and will require an employment contract for the renewal.
- Business Visa: Individuals planning to travel to the country for business purposes, such as attend a conference, meet with clients, or conduct market research, typically apply for this visa.
- Corporate Visa: This visa is not for individuals, but corporations. A corporate visa allows a company to employ a set number of non-residents with Individual Corporate Worker Certificates.
Permanent residence in South Africa is a possibility for employees with certain work visas. Workers are eligible to apply for permanent residence in South Africa after 5 years of living in the country with a General Work Visa.
Requirements to obtain a South African work visa
Several factors determine the documentation needed to apply for a work visa in South Africa. These may vary based on the type of visa, the applicant’s country of residence, and the embassy the application is lodged with. Common requirements include:
- A passport that’s valid for at least 1 month after the applicant’s intended return date
- Proof of employment in South Africa
- Medical documentation, such as vaccination records
- Bank statements to demonstrate sufficient funds
- Proof of medical insurance for the duration of time spent in South Africa
Keep in mind that there are additional requirements depending on the visa. For example, an applicant may need to provide police clearances from every country they’ve lived in for longer than 1 year over the last 5 years or a cash deposit to cover the return trip to their country. For a full list of requirements, applicants should get in touch with the South African embassy or consulate in their country.
To get a visa to work in South Africa, the applicant must visit their country’s South African embassy, diplomatic representative, or consulate in person. They will need to bring the relevant documents to apply, so make sure to confirm the requirements in advance.
The Department of Home Affairs will process and finalize all applications. Processing time will vary based on the type of visa and location of the applicant.
Other important considerations
In South Africa, a work permit must be secured and sponsored by the employer. The employer must be a locally licensed and incorporated entity. Companies without an established presence in South Africa can hire employees through an Employer of Record.
You should also consider that some employees may be traveling with family, especially if your company plans to relocate members of your existing team. Spouses and children may receive residence visas after the employee has obtained a permanent residence permit or a work visa. Family members can also apply for work and study visas for their time in South Africa.
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At this moment, G-P does not sponsor or support the processing of work visas or permits in this particular location.