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I need Work Permit to get a Job Offer and a Job Offer to get a Work Permit in SA. Help!!

I need a Work Permit to get a job and I need a Job Offer to get a work permit in South Africa. Help!!


We hear this conundrum often in SA working in immigration. Frustrated foreigners phone in when they have been told for the tenth time that they need a work permit in order to get hired.  And we tell the foreigner that they need to secure a job offer in order for us to assist them in obtaining the work permit.

The problem is that companies are not very familiar with the work permit options or the process involved. And companies are worried that they will be fined if they are caught having employees on the premises not holding the proper work permit.  Timing is often another issue because companies are afraid of the time period and don’t want to wait for that employee to gain the proper legal rights to work in the country.

The first thing to do is to contact an immigration consultant and find out which type of work permit will be relevant. Most of the time this depends on ones’ education, skills, and years of experience.  As an immigration consultant I will ask you:

  • What is your Occupation?
  • How many years of Experience do you have?
  • Do you have any formal qualifications?
  • Do you have a job offer?
  • What is your current visa status in SA or current location?




Unless you have special skills (On the Critical Skills List) with at least 5 years of experience, you will fall into the General Work Permit Category.   The whole premise of a General Work Permit is that the company struggled to find a local worker for that position and needs to find a foreign worker to fill the position.  Thus the Five year General Work Permit is employee sponsored. You won’t get this without a company offering you a job. So if you rock up with a work permit for “so and so” company from 4 months ago, it won’t be valid for the new job. You would then have to apply for a new one.

Your future employer should also contact us and we can explain that for your particular occupation and position, one would never come with a work permit first.  It must be applied for first. Immigration companies like New World Immigration will do the advert, apply for the Salary Bench certificate, SAQA certificate, and case manage the entire process. It is a process and does not happen overnight. Three months is a realistic time-frame for one of these General Work Permits.  Make sure your company is comfortable with the process and aware that there will be roughly a 3 month gap between offering you the position and you actually obtaining the permit.  Be honest and keep an open line of communication.  For questions, ask


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