Are you in a relationship or married to a South African citizen or permanent resident, and want to work in the country but unsure of how to go about it?
Firstly, once you are married and have registered your marriage at Home Affairs you can apply for the Spousal Visa. This will allow you to live in the country for 2-3 years and is renewable. You can also apply for Permanent Residency after 5 years of marriage.
If you are not married, but are in a relationship with a South African citizen or permanent resident you can apply for a Life Partner Visa. This is based on showing proof of a solid relationship such as cohabitation. This visa also allows you to live in the country for 2-3 years and is renewable. Please note that new immigration laws under review are that couples will need to show 5 year’s cohabitation before applying for this visa. Although these changes are not in effect yet, this could affect couples in shorter-term relationships (refer to blog: Proposed legislature changes/ criteria for Life Partner Visa).
Now, the question which comes up is whether one can work immediately on receiving the visa? The answer is NO. You can however obtain the working rights once you receive a job offer, and the application process is straight forward.
So you can reside in South Africa without a job on the Spousal or Life Partner Visa. Should you choose to work, you must get a job offer first and then apply for a ‘Work Endorsement.’
This can be done at the same time as applying for your Life Partner /Spousal Visa if already have the offer, or much later if you don’t have a job straight away. This is added to the conditions of your Visa and it allows you to legally work for the given company whilst residing with your partner or spouse.
If you choose to leave the company you can still remain in South Africa as your rights to reside here are linked to your relationship or marriage, and you would apply for a new Work Endorsement for each new job.
To apply for the Life Partner Visa or Spousal Visa, or the Work Endorsement component, contact me on 021 555 0951 or firstname.lastname@example.org