The South African Critical Skills Work Visa is a work visa for foreigners who possess essential skills or qualifications in business sectors that contribute to the growth and maintenance of the South African economy, but who lack South African workforce. Sectors identified include agriculture, architecture, specialized jobs in finance, information and communication technology, science.
Professions and skills are identified on a precise list drawn up by the South African government. A new list of essential skills was published by the Ministry of Interior on February 1, 2022. This new list replaces the 2014 list, which needed to be updated to reflect the current skills shortages in South Africa.
The new list can be viewed here.
It applies to all potential applicants for a Critical Skills work visa or those wishing to apply for a permanent residence permit, based on their Critical Skills work visa.
101 positions have been identified on this new list, which is much clearer in terms of qualification criteria. It now specifies the description of each position and the minimum qualifications required.
What to remember from this new list:
· All visas issued under the old list will remain valid;
· The list contains 101 identified jobs;
· Clearer professional definitions;
· More senior management positions and new professions in finance, taxation and investment;
· All Core Skills will require pre-assessment;
· Employer reference letters will require official verification;
· A doctorate no longer qualifies you for an essential skills work visa;
· Foreigners graduating from South African universities are no longer exempt from the requirement of 5 years of professional experience when applying for permanent residence;
· Engineers remain on the list of essential skills.
Nevertheless, these new provisions give rise to certain fears, in particular with regard to the processing times of applications.
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