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Types of Work Permit

Information about the five main kinds of work permits for South Africa and the different application criteria for each one…

General Work Permit

To obtain a work permit under this category the applicant and prospective employer must prove that the foreign applicant is the only person able to fill that position and that there are no South African nationals available who can fill the role. This involves the employer advertising the position in local and national newspapers for at least a month. The general qualifying criteria also apply.

Quota Work Permits

Quota work permits are issued if the applicant falls into certain professional categories where there is considered to be a skills shortage in South Africa. If applying for a quota work permit there is no need to provide an offer of employment. The applicant must prove at least five years' experience in the area of expertise and have the necessary qualifications, as certified by the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA). Quota work permits are normally issued for three months during which time the applicant has to find employment. In order to be eligible for quota work permits for the selected professions it is necessary to register with the relevant professional body.

  • For a list of quota work permits for selected professions: Click here
  • For a link to the South Africa Qualification Authority: Click here

Exceptional Skills Permit

A work permit may be issued to a person considered to have exceptional skills who is then eligible to apply for temporary work in South Africa. This type of work permit is offered as a bridge between the General Work Permit and the Quota Work Permit, whereby South African employers may employ foreign nationals to undertake a position requiring exceptional skills or qualifications. The application must be accompanied by a letter from a South African or foreign state department or from an established South African academic, cultural or business body to confirm the exceptional skills and qualification of the applicant. Proof of these exceptional skills, qualifications and experience must also be provided as should a comprehensive curriculum vitae and references.

Intra Company Transfer Work Permit

This is available to employees being transferred by an international company to work in South Africa for a limited period of time. Intra Company Transfer Work Permits are only valid for two years and cannot be extended or renewed. To qualify for this type of work permit, the applicant must provide a letter from the branch or affiliated South African company to confirm that the applicant will be transferred from their parent or affiliated company abroad to work in South Africa. This letter should also include details about the position and confirmation that the employer will incur any costs should the employee need to be deported or repatriated.

Corporate Work Permit

These are available to corporate entities who wish to employ a pre-determined number of workers. The length of time the permit is allocated for depends on the application and type of position. The application for this type of work permit must be accompanied by a letter from the corporate employer stating the need for and number of foreign nationals they wish to employ. The employer must also provide details about the type of work and salary for each prospective employee. The unavailability of South African nationals to fill the position must also be proved.

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