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South Africa’s Critical Skills Visa: Important Updates
There’s a new, shortened list of critical skills that qualify for South Africa’s Critical Skills visa. Here are the essentials you need to know
The Critical Skills visa allows non South Africans with exceptional skills or qualifications that are scarce in South Africa to live and work in the country. Recent changes to the list of critical skills that would qualify a foreigner for this visa could have a big impact on those wanting to work in South Africa. Immigration experts, Black Pen Immigration, help us unpack what you need to know about the Critical Skills visa.
WHAT COUNTS AS A CRITICAL SKILL?
The critical skills list is divided into different categories and the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) regularly publishes updates with a comprehensive list of occupations and subject areas that fall within these categories. This overview also describes how the relevant information about the qualifications can be verified. The current overview is divided into 12 categories:
• Agriculture, Agricultural Operations, and Related Sciences
• Architecture and the Built Environment
• Business, Economics, and Management Studies
• Information Communication and Technology
• Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences
• Life and Earth Sciences
• Professionals and Associate Professionals
• Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
• Academics and Researchers
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A VISA IF I WORK IN ONE OF THESE FIELDS?
Yes, you may apply for a Critical Skills Visa. You will need to submit documentation, including your passport, a medical and radiological certificate no older than 6 months, and a police certificate from any country where you have lived for more than 12 months. Since applying for a visa in South Africa can be a laborious process, it's recommended that you enlist the help of an expert immigration agency experienced in navigating the DHA’s processes, such as Black Pen Immigration.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO PROCESS A CRITICAL SKILLS VISA?
The official processing time is given as 30 to 40 days, but be warned that it could well take longer than this.
WHAT IS THE COST OF THE VISA APPLICATION?
R1,520 if the application is made in South Africa, otherwise the cost may vary by country and currency. In addition, there are fees from R13,550 to the submission centre and possibly the costs for an agency, should you commission them.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE A JOB OFFER TO APPLY FOR A VISA?
No, to qualify for the Critical Skills Visa, you do not need a specific job offer, but within one year of obtaining the visa, you need to have a position in the field.
I DO NOT HAVE ANY OF THE CRITICAL SKILLS ON THE UPDATED LIST. CAN I STILL WORK IN SOUTH AFRICA?
Yes, under certain conditions. You might find it helpful to read about immigration law updates and visa types available.
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