How-To Guide: Corporate Visa South Africa
Table of Contents
Introduction to the visa
In today's guide you'll learn:
1. Who can apply for this visa
2.The processes you need to complete
3. The order you need to apply for the visa
4. The documents &costs related to the visa
A corporate entity such as a mine may apply for a corporate visa for the company itself and when the Department of Home Affairs issues the visa, then only can the corporate entity go ahead and employ a predetermined amount of foreign workers. The visa allows the entity to employ a large number of foreign nationals within the business for a specific period of time. Before the visa is issued, Home Affairs first needs to complete their assessment of the entity and the need to employ foreign nationals and consult with the Department of Labour before issuing the visa.
There are certain procedures that the entity needs to complete before submitting an application for the visa. The process can be quite tedious and frustrating, so expect delays along the way and make sure everything is 100% correct to avoid being rejected. There are some useful things you could do before starting the process like assessing the number of foreigners needed and whether those skills could easily be filled by local South African citizens or permanent residence holders.
Qualifying Criteria for the South African Corporate Visa Process
There are certain requirements an entity must qualify for to apply for the visa for the company.
The qualifying criteria for the corporate permit:
- An entity must be a South African registered business or branch.
- An entity must demonstrate the need for foreign work staff.
- Provide substantial evidence that the foreign employee salary and benefits are on par with South African citizen and permanent residents.
- Obtain an approval certificate from the Department of Labour.
The entity first has to apply for the visa and once the visa has been issued, then only may foreign staff members apply for the corporate workers visa.
The Process for Applying for the Visa
There are certain processes that must first be completed before applying for the visa. Secondly the entity must apply for the company corporate visa before foreign staff members are allowed to apply for the individual workers permit
- Apply for the certificate from the Department of Labour:
Entities should first apply for the certificate from the Department of Labour which authorizes the company to employ a large amount of foreign staff. The process for the DOL is quite frustrating and one can expect delays as you need to prove that you have exhausted all avenues in first finding South African citizens to fill those particular positions within your company. The Department of Labour will conduct an onsite inspection before the application or certificate is approved. Once you received the certificate then only can you move onto the next step.
- Submit your application to the Department of Home Affairs:
The application for the corporate visa should be prepared and finalized for submission through VFS in South Africa. The application is handed in at VFS and then sent to DHA for the processing which you should include the certificate from Department of Labour and substantial proof that your business needs to employ foreign staff as you could not find suitable SA citizens to fill those specific positions.
- Foreign nationals can apply for the individual corporate workers visas:
Once the corporate visa has been issued to the entity, the business can instruct foreign nationals to go ahead and apply for the visas.
Adding dependents to your visa:
The individual worker visa allows the applicant to add family members to the visa.
You are allowed to add family members to your visa such as your spouse and kids. However, your spouse will not be allowed to work in the Republic and if they so wish to work they must apply either for a general work visa, critical skills visa or a intra-company visa if they qualify. Kids who are of school-going age must apply for a study visa and applications may be submitted jointly.
Applicants on the corporate permit do not qualify to apply for the permanent residence permit. If your spouse is currently applying for a work permit, then they could qualify to become a permanent resident by completing 5 years on a work temporary residence permit. An alternative option is perhaps for your spouse to apply for a South African business visa.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of the visa
As with South African Immigration, one could expect many delays but on the other side there are advantages to this visa.
The advantages of the visa are that you can employ a large number of foreign staff count due to certain skills not available in South Africa which is not listed on the critical skills list. The individual workers visa are less burdensome compared to other work visa options.
The greatest disadvantage of the visa is how long the process takes to obtain the visa. There is numerous red tape you need to cut through such as proving the need for foreign staff and giving proof that you could not find suitable South Africa citizens to fill the particular positions.
Validity, Costs & Required Documents
Planning in advance can assist you with the financial requirements when you are ready to submit. Knowing the ins and outs can avoid a rejection from DHA.
The Validity of the Visa and Processing costs:
The validity of the visa is a maximum of 3 years and cannot be renewed. The applicant must depart from South Africa before the visa expires and should the applicant wish to return to South Africa, then he or she must apply for a work visa to work legally in South Africa.
The cost of the visa:
• 1520 ZAR (Entity Application)
• 1350 ZAR (VFS Service Fee for Entity Application)
• No DHA processing fees for individual Workers Permit
• 1350 ZAR (VFS Service Fee for Individual Workers Permit)
Documents & Forms Required for the South African Visa:
• Completed Online Form. The Department of Home Affairs will not accept handwritten forms.
• Substantial proof of the need to employ the predetermined amount of foreigners
• A certificate from the Department of Labour confirming:
1. The entity has exhausted all avenues in first finding suitable SA citizens or permanent residents to fill said positions.
2. A detailed job description and remuneration packages.
3. that the salary and benefits of any foreigner employed by the corporate applicant shall not be inferior to the average salary and benefits of citizens or PR holders occupying similar positions in the Republic (Note: An acknowledgement letter from DoL confirming that this information has been sent to DHA electronically may also be accepted)
• Proof of registration with the following institutes:
1. South African Revenue Services
2. Unemployment Insurance Fund
3. Compensation Fund for Occupational Injuries & Diseases
4. Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission (CIPC)
• Undertaking by the employer for the following:
1. Inform the Director-General of Home Affairs if any foreign staff member does not comply with the provisions of the immigration act or the visa conditions, or if no longer employed by the entity or employed in a different capacity with the company.
2. Entity undertakes to pay for deportation costs of any foreign staff member whilst accepting the responsibility for the return costs related to the deportation of a foreign staff member.
3. The passport of the foreign staff member shall be valid at all times.
4. The foreign staff member will only conduct work for the entity and in the position, he or she has been employed in as stipulated in the visa.
5. The foreigner shall depart from South African when the contract officially expires.
6. All foreign staff members employed under the corporate visa will at all times comply with the provision of the act and the terms & conditions as set out on the corporate visa and corporate work visa.
7. Notify the Director-General Immediately if any foreign staff member no longer complies with the provisions of the act.
8. The financial guarantees by the corporate applicant to defray deportation and other costs should the corporate visa be withdrawn, or certain foreigners fail to leave the Republic when no longer subject to the corporate visa, are complied with.
• Provide proof that at least 60% of the total are SA citizens or PR holders and are permanently employed with the business in various positions.
• The entity must confirm that the corporate application is not being applied for any business type listed as undesirable by the Minister of Home Affairs.
• Proof of payment of applicable fees.
Documents Required for Corporate Workers Certificate
• Completed online form
• Passport is valid for no less than 30 calendar days after expiry of the intended visit.
• Medical Report
• Radiological Report
• Marriage certificate or in the case of a foreign spousal relationship, proof of official recognition thereof issued by the authorities of the foreign country of the applicant (where applicable).
• Spousal Affidavit where a spousal relationship exists with a South African citizen or PR holder which includes documentation proving cohabitation, shared financial responsibilities and including particulars of children within the relationship – If applicable
• Proof of a union recognised in terms of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act, 1998 (Act No. 120 of 1998), where applicable.
• Divorce decree – If applicable
• Proof of court order awarding custody – If applicable
• Death certificate in respect of late spouse – If applicable
• Written consent from both parents and/or sole custody parent, where applicable, with proof of sole custody.
• Proof of legal adoption – If applicable
• Legal separation order – If applicable
• A police clearance certificate from each and every country the applicant has resided in since the age of 18 for 12 months or more.
• Biometric Fee
• Yellow fever certificate if the applicant intends on travelling or transiting through a yellow fever endemic area.
• Copy of the corporate visa issued to your prospective employer
• A valid contract of employment
• A written undertaking by the corporate applicant to ensure that the foreigner departs from the Republic upon the termination of his or her contract of employment or accepting responsibility for the return or costs related to the deportation of the foreigner should it become necessary
• Proof of qualifications evaluated by SAQA, and translated by a sworn translator into one of the official languages of the Republic, or skills and experience in line with the job offer
• A certificate of registration with the professional body, council or board recognised by SAQA in terms of section 13(1)(i) of the National Qualifications Framework Act.
• Proof of payment for processing fee
A foreign staff member may not renew their corporate work visas or apply for a change of status in South Africa.
Application for a corporate worker certificate in terms of bilateral agreements to employ foreigners partially, mainly or wholly from such foreign countries after issuance of a corporate worker authorization certification in terms of section 21(4)(b) read with regulation 20 and 10:
• A passport is valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry date of the intended stay.
• Full set of fingerprints
• A valid employment contract entered into and attested in the worker’s country of origin, for a maximum period of 18 months for Mozambicans and 12 months for workers from Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland.
• Corporate Worker Authorization Certificate (Fully completed)
• Proof of payment, where applicable
Application for a corporate worker certificate for seasonal farmworkers after issuance of a corporate worker authorization certificate in terms of section 21(4)(c) read with regulation 20 and 10:
• A passport valid for no less than 30 days after the expiry date of the intended stay.
• A full set of fingerprints.
• A valid employment contract, which has been entered into for a maximum period of 12 months.
• Corporate Worker Authorization Certificate (Fully completed)
• Proof of payment, where applicable
The visa process for a corporate visa is a lengthy process and quite tedious. It is perhaps best to explore alternative immigration options whilst applying for the visa. South African immigration is a confusing and nail-biting process, it’s in your best interest to make use of an immigration practitioner to prepare and finalize your application so that you can submit in the quickest time frame.