Accompanying Spouse Work Permit South Africa
There are many questions around working on an accompanying spouse visa and after scouring the internet for hours I have not found a single clear cut answer around the subject. Hence we decided to create this blog to give you all the answers you need around this topic and how to proceed moving forward.
But before we dive into this topic, let’s first explore what this visa is and who this visa is meant for, so that you have a better understanding of the visa itself.
The South African Dependent Visa is a type of visa that allows you to travel and stay in South Africa with a family who lives in SA, studying or working in the Republic of South Africa.
These are the different South Africa visa types you can be applying for.
There are different categories of dependent visas you can apply for:
- A spouse or parent on a work visa such as a general work visa.
- A person on a study visa and his or her partner/spouse would like to accompany them.
- A family member who is a SA citizen or permanent resident holder.
If you are on a spousal visa or life partner visa then you can apply for a working endorsement to legally work in South Africa. If you are married or in a relationship with a South African citizen or permanent resident you can apply for a spousal or life partner visa. To qualify for a life partner visa, the applicant must prove two years of cohabitation or more during their relationship and for a spouse visa, the applicant must include a valid marriage certificate.
What is an accompanying spouse visa for South Africa?
The accompanying spouse visa allows a spouse of a temporary residence permit / visa holder to accompany them for the duration of the visa in South Africa. The dependent’s visa duration is valid until the main applicant’s visa expires and has the option to renew the visa.
This means that when an applicant applies for a work visa or any other type of visa, he or she may add their spouse as an accompanying dependent and if their children are not of school-going age then they need to be added to the visa as dependents.
If you are on a life partner visa for 5 years or more, then you can apply for permanent residency. You can read our extensive post Life partner permanent residence permit South Africa for a detailed explanation.
Can a dependent visa holder work in South Africa?
No, an accompanying spouse visa holder may not work in South Africa. The immigration act specifically prohibits any work whilst on an accompanying visa and thus they need to qualify for a visa in their own right. So what this means is that you need to apply for a visa that you would qualify for and only once you have your work visa may you work in South Africa.
What are my options now as an accompanying spouse?
Your options now are:
1. Apply for a work visa:
You can apply for one of the following visas:
- Critical Skills Visa
- General Work Visa
You need to check that you qualify for the correct visa and you can do this by making contact with an immigration consultant in the country so that they can determine your status. They can give you the best advice you need and how to proceed in your situation. Beware that applying for a visa is a laborious process itself and the processing time at the Department of Home Affairs is longer than usual due to Covid-19. Visa applications are delayed by many months if not a year or more because of Covid but the Department of Home Affairs is looking to clear the backlog.
We best advise making use of the service of an immigration practitioner or making use of the services of an immigration lawyer. Using the wrong services can end up in people scamming you and you need to know how to spot a fake work permit.
2. Work when you apply you have received permanent residence
If you have plans to stay permanently in South Africa, then another option is applying for a permanent residence permit when the main applicant qualifies. This means that once you have a permanent residence then you are entitled to most rights South African citizens have.
Once you have obtained permanent residency, you can at a later stage apply for South African citizenship for the entire family.
Does a spouse visa allow you to work?
Yes, the spouse visa does allow you to work, however, you need to apply for a work endorsement in South Africa. This is treated as a new visa application and therefore you would need to submit mostly the same documents but extra documentation such as a contract of employment must be included. So you might apply for a waiver for a police clearance or if this is still valid then you can include it in your application. Once again we recommend the services of an immigration consultant to assist you in applying for the visa. The application form is filled in online on VFS’s website and all required documents are listed.
You need to remember that an accompany spouse visa and a spousal visa are two different visas. You may only apply for a spousal visa if you are married to a South African citizen.
A recap of the accompanying spouse visa?
The accompanying visa allows you to accompany your partner/spouse in SA for the duration of their visa. You are not allowed to take up employment and to do so, you need to apply for a valid visa that allows you to take up employment.
You are more than welcome to request a free assessment from Migrate With Q and we are more than happy to assess your situation. Our free assessments last 30 minutes to 1 hour and we’ll give you all the information you need.
Charl Vollmer has 8 years of experience helping people immigrate to South Africa. I am passionate about helping people and making their dreams a reality. Charl constantly stays up to date with South African Immigration rules and regulations. To contact Charl, visit our contact page.