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Introduction to the South African Critical Skills Visa

The Immigration Act of 2002 allows for the Minister of Home Affairs to consult with the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Trade and Industry in order to identify areas of scarce, critical and special skills required by the South African economy each year. A list of professional categories and occupational classes are then identified and work permits made available.

Introduction To The South African Critical Skills Visa

The most recent list identifies almost 35 000 such positions across 53 different categories. These positions are available to be filled by formally qualified foreigners who have a minimum of five years practical experience.

What does the application process entail?

Anybody who has formal qualifications in any of the above areas and a minimum of five years practical experience can apply for a critical skills work visa.

• You need to have your formal qualifications evaluated by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). All information regarding this can accessed on SAQA’s website,

• If your qualification certificates are not in English they must be translated by a sworn translator into English.

• You might also have to obtain registration with the relevant South African professional/trade organisation, board or council if your field is one where such permission is required. To find out whether your specific profession falls within this category please consult the list of professional bodies’ websites.

• Complete application Form BI-1738. You will need to submit all the documents listed under Part A and Part E of the form. The completed form must be submitted to your local South African Mission (if you are outside SA) or at a regional office (if you are inside South Africa).

• You will have to pay an application fee equivalent to ZAR 1520.

• The quota work permit application will be processed and finalised within a period of 6-8 weeks.

• Successful candidates will be required to report to the nearest Regional Office of the Department of Home Affairs within 90 days after having entered the RSA.

• The quota work permit remains valid for as long as the permit holder is employed within the area of expertise and permit holders are required to report to the Department of Home Affairs on an annual basis in order to confirm that they continue to be employed in their designated professions.

If you have entered South Africa on a tourist visa you will not be able to apply for a work visa inside South Africa as this is in contravention of the Immigration Act.

It is best to seek the professional advice of a registered immigration practitioner when considering applying for a South African visa or permit. The team at New World Immigration is dedicated to finding the best immigration solution for your specific situation and has access to governmental services which speeds up the process while also ensuring that your application is valid, correct and complete reducing the risk of rejection thereof.

Information source: SA Department of Home Affairs

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