Critical Skills Visa South Africa

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

• Identify if your occupation is listed on the critical skills Category list.
• Use the visa to secure employment in South Africa.
• Apply for PR 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?

Critical Skills Visa 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when the new immigration regulations were amended and as such the exceptional skills permit and the quota permit were repealed to be replaced by the critical skills work visa.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 the foreign 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:

  • The foreign national must have a job offer when applying.
  • The critical skills visa qualifies you for PR if you have 5 yrs 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 2022

  • Director (Enterprise/Organisation) (Meduim enterprises or larger)
  • Policy and Planning Manager
  • Corporate General Manager (Meduim enterprises or larger)
  • Programme or Project Manager
  • Quality Systems Manager
  • Customer Service Manager (Business Process Outsourcing Sector)
  • Research and DEvelopment Manager
  • Manufacturing Operations Manager
  • Engineering Manager
  • Supply and Distribution Manager
  • Chief Information Officer
  • Data Management Manager
  • Environmental Manager
  • Call or Conduct Centre Manager
  • Physicist
  • Climate Change Scientist
  • Chemist
  • Geologist
  • Geophysicist
  • Materials Scientist
  • Mineralogist
  • Hydrologist
  • Oceanographer
  • Actuary
  • General Biologist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Zoologist
  • Agricultural Scientist
  • Food and Beverage scientist
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Scientist
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Industrial Engineering Technologist
  • Civil Engineer
  • Civil Engineering Technologist
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineering Technologist
  • Aeronautical Engineer
  • Aeronautical Engineering Technologist
  • Naval Architect 
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Chemical Engineering Technologist
  • Mining Engineer
  • Metallurgist
  • Biomedical Engineer
  • Quantity Surveyor
  • Agricultural Engineer
  • Agricultural Engineering Technologist
  • Electrical Engineering Technologist
  • Energy Engineer
  • Energy Engineering Technologist
  • Electronics Engineer
  • Architect
  • Urban and Regional Planner
  • Multimedia Designer
  • Nurse Educator
  • University Lecturer – Senior Lecturer and above for only those CESM categories listed in annexure 2
  • FET Phase School Teacher (Grade 10-12) Only for STEM subjects
  • Senior Phase School Teacher (Grades 8-90 – Only for STEM subjects
  • Tax Professionals 
  • External Auditor
  • Forensic Accountant
  • Investment Analyst
  • Investment Manager
  • Investment Advisor
  • Business Development Officer
  • Policy Analyst
  • Corporate Treasurer
  • Organizational Risk Manager
  • Internal Auditor
  • Occupational Instructor (Air-Traffic Space)
  • Market Research Analyst
  • ICT Systems analyst
  • Data Scientist
  • Software Developer
  • Programmer Analyst
  • Developer Programmer 
  • Multimedia Specialist
  • Applications Programmer
  • Computers Quality Assurance Analyst
  • Computer Network and Systems Engineer
  • Network Analyst
  • ICT Security Specialist
  • Economist
  • Chemistry Technician
  • Town Planning Technician
  • Electronic Engineering Technician
  • Draughtsperson
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Inbound Contact Centre Consultant (With first language speaking and translating capabilities in the following languages: German, Swiss, Flemish, Greek, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and French)
  • Outbound Contact Centre Consultant (with first language speaking and translating capabilities in the following languages: German, Swiss, Flemish, Greek, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin and French)
  • Air-conditioning and refrigreration mechanic
  • Metal Machinist
  • Millwright
  • Mechatronics Technician
  • Lift Mechanic
  • Electrical Equipment Mechanic
  • Transportation Electrician
  • Instrument Mechanician (Industrial Instrumentation & process control)

Please note that you need to apply for membership with a relevant professional body or council.

Your visa will be rejected if you are not registered with a relevant professional body.

How can I get a critical skill visa?

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 visas must be applied abroad and no first-time applicants 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 by checking the requirements. To qualify for the work permit you need to satisfy the requirements as follows:

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

    These work visas must be qualified for in their own right.

  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 procedure to register with a professional council or body can be a slow procedure 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. 

  5. Ensure that you do not have a criminal record. DHA will request for police clearance certificates from each country you have lived in since the age of 18 years. In South Africa, the police clearance certificate is automatically applied for when you are at VFS.

How do I get a critical skills permit in South Africa


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 procedure 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 application 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 t step 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 prompts 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?


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.

Due to COVID-19 South African visas processing times has been affected and therefore you can expect a delay. The Department of Home Affairs is currently experience a huge backlog where visas are concerned. We urge all applicants applying for visas to do so in the fastest time frame possible. The waiting period is months so it can take anything between 5 – 7 months to receive an outcome. Therefore it is best to educate your prospective employer that it can take months to receive your visa. We recommend that you ensure that all your documents are in order to avoid a refusal due to incorrect documents which once again will cause a delay by months having to appeal the decision.

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


How to secure work in South Africa

The person will no longer be issued a 12 month visa as the Home Affairs has recently decided that you first need a job offer before being issued with the CSV visa. Previously applicants could take 12 months to apply then report back to Home Affairs to notify them that they have secured employment.

So you need a job offer when applying for the visa.

Critical skills permanent residence permit South Africa


Critical skills permanent residence permit South Africa

An applicant shall qualify for a PR 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 and will be issued when you submit after obtaining your visa. 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.

We recommend that you visit South Africa to see what it is like and you can visit friend or family in SA.

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. We can do everything online for you. 

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 online weekly calls