Critical Skills Visa South Africa

This visa is for people whose occupation are deemed as critical skill and are listed on the critical skills list for South Africa.

• Identify if your occupation is listed on the critical skills list.
• Use the visa to secure employment in South Africa.
• Apply for permanent residency if you have more than 5 years of work experience.
• We’ll prepare and compile your application.

What is considered critical skills in South Africa?

A critical skill is an occupation that is considered to be sought after in South Africa which means that there are no South African citizens or permanent residents who can fill those positions which are in high demand. The critical skills permit was introduced in 2014 by the Department of Home Affairs when the new immigration regulations were amended and as such the exceptional skills permit and the quota permit were repealed to be replaced by the critical skills work visa. The critical skills list contains all the occupations which are needed in South Africa and was created by DHA in conjunction with the Department of Trade and Industry.

The critical skills visa has many benefits for an applicant which are not applicable to any work visa. Many other work permits often require you to show proof that all efforts have been exhausted in first finding a South African citizen or permanent resident and that you are the best person qualified for the job.

The critical skill visa features:

  • Allowed to apply for the visa without a work offer and allowed to seek employment in South Africa for up to 1 year.
  • The critical skills visa qualifies you for permanent residency if you have 5 years of work experience and have the necessary proof.
  • No Department of Labour certificate required.
  • You are not tied to your employer.

Critical Skills List South Africa 2021

  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Agricultural Scientist
  • Forestry Technician
  • Sheep Shearer
  • Architect
  • Construction Project Manager
  • Land Surveyor
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Actuaries and Risk Assessors
  • Corporate General Manager
  • External Auditor
  • Financial Investment Advisor
  • CISCO Solution Specialist
  • CISCO Engineers
  • Solutions Architects in Telecommunications and ICT
  • Integrated Developers (PHP, PERL, JAVA)
  • Network Analyst
  • IT Security Specialist
  • System Integration Specialist
  • Enterprise Architects
  • Data Centre Operations
  • Network Specialist (Security)
  • Database Specialist
  • Microsoft System Engineers
  • Network Controllers
  • AV Specialist (Anti-virus)
  • Desktop Support Engineer
  • Energy Engineer
  • Metallurgical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Electrical Installation Inspector
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Geologist
  • Industrial and Production Engineers
  • Industrial Designer
  • Manufacturing Managers
  • Materials Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Mining Engineer
  • Production/Operations Manager
  • Quality System Manager
  • Research and Development Manager
  • Ship’s Engineer
  • Telecommunications Engineers
  • Electrical Engineering Technologist
  • Energy Engineering Technologist
  • Mechanical Engineering Technologist
  • Metallurgical Engineering Technologist
  • Mining Engineering Technologist
  • Air Conditioning and Mechanical Services Plumber
  • Automotive Electrician
  • Automotive Motor Mechanic
  • Boiler Maker
  • Chemical Engineering Technologist
  • Civil Engineering Technologist
  • Diesel Mechanic
  • Electronics Engineering Technologist
  • Fitter and Turner
  • Materials Engineering Technologist
  • Mechatronics Technician
  • Metal Fabricator
  • Physical and Engineering Science Technicians
  • Pressure Welder
  • Structural Plaster
  • Toolmaker
  • Medical Superintendant/Public Health Manager
  • Public Health Physician
  • General and Specialist Medical Practitioner
  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Nursing Professionals
  • Veterinarian
  • Registered Nurse (child and family health)
  • Retail Pharmacist
  • Environmental Engineers
  • Environmental Manager
  • Industrial Pharmacist
  • Aquatic Scientist
  • Animal Scientist
  • Advanced Composites Engineering
  • Archaeological/Paleontological Specialist
  • Bioeconomist
  • Biochemists
  • Bioinformatician
  • Bioinformaticist
  • Biological Scientist
  • Botanical Scientist
  • Chemical Scientist
  • Computational Biologist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Ecological Scientist
  • Food Scientist
  • Engineering Geologist
  • Geochemist
  • Geohazards Specialist
  • Geologist
  • Geophycist
  • Laboratory Technologist and Technician
  • Marine Bioscientist
  • Materials Scientist
  • Metallurgical Scientist
  • Metrology
  • Microbiological Scientist
  • Polymer Scientist
  • Protein Scientist
  • Seismologist
  • Soil Scientist
  • Toxicology Scientist
  • Water Resource Scientist
  • Land and Engineering Surveyors
  • Electronic Engineering Technician
  • Materials Engineering Technologist
  • Electrical Engineering Technician
  • Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Practitioner
  • Draughtsperson
  • Mechanical Engineering Technician
  • Chemical Engineering Technician
  • Organisation and Methods Analyst (Incl. scheduler, estimator)
  • Surveying Technician
  • Geomatics Technician
  • Quantity Surveying Technician
  • Civil Engineering Technician
  • Materials Engineer Non-destructive Testing (NDT)
  • Materials Engineering Technician – Road materials
  • Materials Tester
  • Construction Safety, Health, Environment an
  • Quality (SHEQ) Agent/Manager/Officer
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Architectural Senior Technologist
  • Architectural Draughtsperson
  • Astronomer
  • Physicist (SKA)
  • Geomagnetic Physicist
  • Solar Physicist
  • Space Physicist
  • Plasma Physicist
  • Space Technologist
  • Space Weather Specialist
  • Magnetic Technology Specialist
  • Radar Engineering
  • Radio Frequency Engineering
  • Environmental Technologist
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Industrial Engineering Technologist
  • Industrial Engineering Technician
  • Landscape Architect
  • Landscape Contract Manager
  • Landscape Horticulturist
  • Mining Technician
  • Millwright
  • Boilermaker (For Strategic Infrastructure Projects)
  • Industrial Machinery Mechanic
  • Pipe Fitter
  • Double Coded Welder
  • Rigger
  • Moulder
  • Raise-bore Operators
  • Raise-bore Foreman
  • Software Development Engineers and Managers
  • Systems Architects, Engineers and Managers
  • Foreign Language speakers for specialist language support and technical or sales support (German, Swiss German, Flemish, Greek, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and French)
  • Business Analyst
  • Quality Analyst
  • Quality Assurance Specialist/Auditor
  • Customer Service Manager/Team Lead
  • Doctoral Graduates (Acquired Abroad)
  • Research in any of the following areas;
  • Galaxy Formation and Evolution
  • Galaxy Structure and Dynamics
  • Pulsars and Black Holes
  • Pulsars and Black Holes
  • Pulsars and Gravitational Waves
  • Deep Observations of the earliest Radio Galaxies
  • Dynamic and Transient Burst
  • VLBI Operations
  • Search for CO to investigate role of Molecular Hydrogen
  • Deep Surveyors of Neutral Hydrogen Gas in the Early Universe
  • Cosmology and Dark Energy
  • Cosmic Magnetism
  • Calibration and Imaging of Radio Interferometer data
  • Pulsar Research
  • Pulsar and Gravitational Waves
  • VLBI Operations
  • Signal Processing
  • Observational Radio Astronomy in General
  • Algorithm for Radio Astronomy
  • Signal Processing for Radio Astronomy
  • Supercomputing for Radio Astronomy
  • Software Development for Radio Astronomy
  • Data and Streaming- Real-Time Processing of Massive Data Amounts
  • Green Computing- Extreme Performance at Minor Energy Cost
  • Performance at Minor Energy Costs
  • EMC and Spectrum Management
  • Beam Modelling
  • Antenna Modelling
  • Feeds for Radio Astronomy Systems
  • Receivers for Radio Astronomy Systems
  • Signal Processing for Radio Astronomy
  • High Speed Data Transport
  • Nano-photonics-Data Transport Power
  • Nanotechnology
  • Palaeosciences
  • Reduction over Short and Long Distances
  • Antenna Design
  • Antenna Foundation Design
  • RFI Shielded Buildings and Facilities
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Space Science and Technology
  • Global Change
  • Energy Security
  • Information Communication Technology
  • Earth Observation
  • Natural and Applied Sciences
  • Doctoral Graduates (Obtained in RSA)

How can I get a critical skill visa?

An applicant can apply for a South Africa critical skills visa in their country of residence at the South African embassy if they are applying for the first-time. All first time applications must be applied abroad and no first-time applications will be allowed at DHA or VFS. An applicant applying for a change of status may only apply in South Africa, in layman’s terms, this means changing from one type of visa to another.

Before submitting your application for the work visa, applicants must ensure that they qualify. To qualify for the work permit you need to satisfy the required criteria:

  1. Proof that your occupation is on the critical skills list.

    An applicant must include proof to show that their occupation is on the critical skills list for South Africa. If your occupation is not listed, then you would not qualify to apply for the work visa. Alternatively, an applicant can look at applying for a different work visa such as the following:

    General Work Visa
    Intra-Company Transfer Visa
    Spousal Visa With Working Rights 
    Life Partner Visa With Working Rights

  2.  Proof that you are registered with a professional council or body.

    The immigration act states that an applicant must include proof of registration with a professional council or body which regulates their occupation. The process to register with a professional council or body can be a slow process as there are often exams that must be written etc and delays will occur with regards to the number of applications received. Each applicant must register with the required professional council or body for their occupation.

  3. Proof that your qualifications have been assessed by SAQA (South Africa Qualifications Authority)

    An applicant must have their qualifications assessed by SAQA to provide proof that their qualifications are on par with the South African national qualification frameworks. SAQA’s services take a few weeks to have your qualifications assessed.

  4. All applicable documents are in order.

    Your Application must be prepared and compiled as per the required documents.

How do I get a critical skills permit in South Africa

Foreign nationals who are in South Africa on an existing temporary residence visa may apply for a change of status in the Republic through VFS. Applying for the critical skills work visa according to the immigration act must be done through Visa Facilitation Services which facilitates the visa process and captures your biometric details.

Before applying for the visa, the applicant must ensure that they qualify to apply for the visa. The same applicable qualifying procedure shall apply as mention earlier in the post.

The applicant has the option to prepare and compile their own application or make use of immigration services to facilitate the visa process for them. You need to register yourself with the professional council or body as an immigration consultant will often not assist with registrations as most registrations require that you complete this process on your own.

Once your application has been finalized, you then need to schedule an appointment with VFS department to submit your documents. To book an appointment you need to go to their website and follow the process of booking and select the applicable visa and follow the prompts.

On the day of your appointment, arrive 30 minutes earlier and you need to make sure that you have all the applicable documents and your appointment letter.

Once you’ve handed your application over to the official, they will then hand over your receipt which you must keep in a safe place to track your application.

How long does it take to get a critical skills visa in South Africa?

Once your application is with the Department of Home Affairs, the average processing time can differ. The average time it takes is about 4-6 weeks and in many cases sometimes can be a bit longer depending on the number of applications submitted. The government is dedicated to speeding up the visa process and we have to be patient. You must submit in advance to avoid any disappointment.

If you submitted abroad at a South African embassy in your country of residence, then it may take up to 30 business days depending on how busy the Embassy is then. The critical skills work visa is often processed faster abroad as missions or Embassies are typically not that busy compared to SA.

The critical skills are valid for 5 years and can be renewed 6 months before your visa expires.

How to secure work in South Africa

The critical skills applicant will receive a 12-month visa to secure work in SA. The reason why this is allowed as the government is trying to fill the occupations which cannot be filled by the South African labour market. Seeking work in SA can be successful provided that you have all the necessary things in place and regularly check and apply on job vacancy websites.

Have the following in place:

  • A detailed CV.
  • Your visa documents.
  • Prepare yourself for work interviews.

Critical skills permanent residence permit South Africa

An applicant shall qualify for a permanent residency permit if they have 5 years of work experience. The South Africa immigration act states that you may apply immediately for a permanent residence permit. A critical skill is sought after in SA and the government has made provision for them by allowing them to apply for a permanent residence permit to retain their skills. Once the applicant has received the permanent residency certificate, he or she no longer need to renew their visa every 5 years.

An applicant who has acquired their PhD education in SA will qualify for a permanent residency.

Migrate With Q Services

Migrate With Q will facilitate the visa process for you and eliminate the stress from the entire process for you. We answer our email and calls 7 days a week so that we give you peace of mind throughout the process.

What you get with us:

  • Access to an immigration expert.
  • We complete 3rd party processes for you.
  • Assist you with registering with a professional council or body.
  • Prepare and compile your application.
  • Provide you with employment opportunities.
  • One on one weekly calls.